China 1834-1836 – part 5


Vol 7 No 23 – Tuesday 10th June 1834

Letter to the Editor – On behalf of Dutch colonial interests, I am grateful for the consideration the British parliament has shown us in placing our shipping on a better footing to trade in China than their own.

Our acts in Java have for many years been violently opposed to British interests and this new enactment is an unexpected instance of ‘returning evil with good’. Our shipping to China will now increase along with that of the Americans, Spanish and Portuguese, as we all participate in a commerce which Britain has developed and formerly monopolised.

I hope your liberality extends to the Lintin trade so we can get a slice of that lucrative depot system into which foreigners have been forced by the Chinese.

I also hear, but cannot credit, that a British Court of Justice is to be set up to try British nationals in China for offences committed against foreigners whilst we foreigners remain unfettered. I am unsure of the legality of delegating this power to subjects resident in a foreign country.

Sgd T W van der Slout, Burgher of Batavia

Vol 7 No 24 – 17th June 1834

There is a rumour that the Commons have repealed the proposed tonnage and cargo taxes on China-trade. Just as well. The Chinese would have characterised it as a fee to our King for the privilege of visiting China.

Vol 7 No 24 – 17th June 1834

The Portuguese have raised the duty payable on goods brought by Spanish ships to Macau from 6% to 14% effective 15th July 1834. This reciprocates the tax on Portuguese ships trading to Manila.[228]

Vol 7 No 24 – 17th June 1834

Letter to the Editor – A permanent British resident at Peking would improve trade but the Chinese do not permit it. Is theirs a valid objection? Is China a barbarous or civilised country? If barbarous we cannot expect the courtesies that exist amongst European states and we merely have to act in accordance with international law; if civilised we should have reciprocal exchange of ambassadors. Can we insist on this against Chinese objections? It would certainly be beneficial.

China declines to associate with foreigners on a basis of equality but, on occasions, necessity has caused it to negotiate and agree concessions. Only inevitability will cause the Chinese to permit a foreign Resident in their capital. We cannot rely on ‘boundless compassion’ or good will. The government policy is one of exclusion. Officials only become friendly when they have no alternative. This is the way of Asia. The Manchus received the same attitude from the Chinese when they were beyond the Great Wall. There is no realistic prospect of China allowing a British Resident in Peking. This will be available only when China has no alternative.

The Russians have persevered. Lange’s account lists the difficulties they had (in setting up the Russian Language School near Peking in 1720s).[229] We should study what they did. With better knowledge of the Chinese character we might prevail. Once Chinese officials come into contact with us, the bundles of prejudices they hold about us will evaporate like smoke.

Editor – our businessmen believe we should act first and talk later. It is pointless to ask for favours.

Is international law applicable to China? The Emperor knows no power superior to his own. Why should he join a league of nations and restrict his choices of action? Britain still has a job to do. It has encouraged the British people to extend their trade in China. We therefore expect that the new minister will make every effort to protect and encourage us, to discover new channels for trade, to establish binding relations with Peking.

England at present appears in the lists of tributary nations. This concept of central China and peripheral vassals is fundamental to the Chinese worldview. Having a representative in Peking would damage it. But Britain has a powerful Empire and should be considered equal to China. That would solve our problem. Our Resident at Peking would patronise religion and science. He would represent an Empire that has land on the Chinese frontier (from Kashmir to Burma) just like Russia in the north. He could also observe and counteract Russian diplomacy at Peking. We need a representative in Peking as much as we need a representative in USA. We should not force one on Peking at the point of a gun but we must obtain their agreement by firmness. Our former cringing servility must be totally abandoned. The Chinese respect determination of purpose and yield to peremptory demands. We can really do this.

Vol 7 No 24 – 17th June 1834

Letter to the Editor – A friend owns one of the best houses in Macau and I borrowed it for sea bathing. My neighbour is a Portuguese of importance.

On a few occasions during my one month residence, I was shocked to hear the sounds of violence coming from the neighbour’s house attended by human screams. I was reminded of the horrors of slavery. Sgd Edinensis

Vol 7 No 25 – Tuesday 24th June 1834

The Chinese closed all their ports except one to us. They say if they reopen them to us their ancient form of society will be endangered and rebellions will occur. When the ordinary Chinese people see the way we live our lives in freedom, the government fears they will want to emulate us. So they minimise our contact with their people to minimise this destabilising effect on their society. We do not agree with the Chinese analysis.

Our contacts with brokers and dealers at Canton are widespread and sufficient to operate a huge smuggling conspiracy but this does not jeopardise the peace. We have never sought to stir-up revolution. We are greedy, they are greedy. Opening more ports means we can sell more British goods and they can sell more Chinese goods.

If we can buy produce where it is made (tea from Fuk Chow, silk from Hang Chow) we save the inland transit cost and reduce its price. More channels for trade will reduce the risks of over-stocking, increase the numbers of ships employed and increase the overall level of trade.

We should apply for free trade to all Chinese ports. We do not want to simply force the Chinese to permit it but to have them allow it as our right under international law. We should encourage more Chinese traders to go to India and Europe and in return they should allow us unrestricted access to their home market. We think the present government lacks the courage to deny us if we make our demand strongly. They are bound by their cultural concepts to negotiate and seek for compromise.

Vol 7 No 25 – Tuesday 24th June 1834

Macau duty – All imports to Macau are taxed at 6%. The value of common imports are fixed by law, e.g. beche-de-mer is valued at 40 Taels per picul, cardamoms at 160 Taels, saltpetre at 4 Taels and ivory at 56 Taels, etc.

Opium is an exception. It is taxed at 10¼% if brought in a Portuguese ship and 15¼% if brought in a foreign ship. All exports are duty-free.

Vol 7 No 25 – Tuesday 24th June 1834

Trade report – The heavy rains and high rivers have caused flooding at Canton. The factories are underwater and no business can be done. Goods cannot be shipped or landed for the time being. Even opium is not selling.

The expected abundant harvest of rice this summer now seems unlikely to occur given the extent of flooding in the fields. Wholesale rice has advanced 20-30 cents per picul in the last few days but no large sales have been made.

All good teas have been sold

Vol 7 No 25 – Tuesday 24th June 1834

The Editor of the Canton Register is John Slade. He was appointed on 1st January 1834.[230]

Vol 7 No 26 – Tuesday 1st July 1834

The Quarterly Review has considered Free Trade in China in its 100th edition. It consulted several sources – Marjoribanks letter to Charles Grant, the published papers of the Lord Amherst voyage, papers about the Company, Sir George Staunton’s speech to the House on China trade and the observations of the late President of the Parliamentary Select Committee, Sir James Brabazon Urmston. All these sources give the Company view. We think the Company’s trade and the free trade are so different as to be separate subjects. The knowledge acquired in Company trade, and thus the entire content of the Review article, is inapplicable to free trade.

The Review says:

“The deed is done. China is opened to free traders. The Imperial edicts will no longer cause awe and trembling. The throne of China is cracked. The seat of the dragon is tottering to its fall. The influence of the ancient sages has ended.

”Those who recommend we send a fleet to China for aggression should remember we are already loaded with international complaints about our previous similar unilateral actions – the seizure of the Danish fleet in Copenhagen; our piracy of the Spanish treasure ships; the seizure and detention of Dutch merchant ships and, worst, our action against the Turkish fleet whilst anchored at Navarino. All these unjust piracies are not half as atrocious as an attack on China merely because they do not chose to admit us into their society.

“The Chinese believe they owe the preservation of their Empire to systematically avoiding all contact with foreigners. The empire has remained largely unchanged for 3,000 years. What right do we have to dictate to China how and where it will permit trade? This trading relationship is something we want, not China. We have the power to drive their warjunks from the sea, to lay waste to the coasts of their country. They can at best make a feeble resistance – they cannot drive us away. So we can force our smuggling (free) trade on them.

“We say the people want trade but the officials are against it. What we are actually saying is that smugglers, fishermen and low rabble on the coast are sometimes able to intimidate the Coast Guard and force their illegal trade on the country and China has no way of preventing it other than using force against force. The free traders imagine that the tea trade will flourish in spite of government attitudes to our smuggling but, if the Emperor chose to issue one, we think a single Imperial edict could end the tea trade.

“The smugglers say China will not do that because the combined influence of the tea men, the Canton authorities and the national treasury will prevent it and because tea is in such general use in China that its production cannot be stopped. We think the types of tea that Westerners drink are different from the teas that sell in China. It would be an easy matter to cease production of our types while continuing production of the types favoured by Chinese. They all come from the same shrub – its just the rolling and roasting that varies. The increased tea demand has been foreign and financed by foreign advances. Rather than be able to do nothing about it, as the smugglers say, we think the Chinese government could readily distinguish the production of foreign teas and embargo it, supporting the effected farmers as necessary until they have refocused their production on preferred domestic teas.

“Foreigners also say Fukien was the centre of Ming resistance to the Ching dynasty and did not cease resisting until Koxinga gave up his rebellion (It is Fukienese people who dominate nearly every overseas Chinese community). Foreigners have focused their attempts to trade freely on Fukien. Both these facts are known to the Chinese government which might reasonably be expected to respond by removing the source of our interest for free trade in Fukien, the tea farming there.

“The Chinese are poor people. The staple foods are rice and millet. The whole of the foreign trade produces only £500,000 a year to China in revenue. They might well consider the land now used to cultivate tea for export would be better applied to the production of millet.”

Editor – This astounding article suggests that, because China may not make a commercial treaty with us, we free traders consider the country to be beyond the bounds of international law. We do not say that. We say that China does not acknowledge international law. We think we people on the spot know the situation better than commentators far away who rely on text books for their knowledge. We think we can induce the Chinese to make a commercial treaty with us if we press for it in earnestness. We claim the right and the power to do so. And the result is desirable for both the European and Chinese peoples. A government that opposes every other must expect those other governments to oppose it. Law is a contract; it gives protection on one hand and requires obedience on the other. As China does not extend its law to us, we cannot be said to break it.

The Quarterly Review asserts the term ‘free trader’ is synonymous with ‘smuggler’. It would leave the people of China to the mercy of its government. We say that Britain is the country the Chinese most esteem. We are her best customer. If we really insist on a closer relationship, she will certainly allow it to avoid the censure of history.

Our conditions have very much deteriorated over time. Sir James Urmston reports on Mr Cunningham, the surgeon of the English factory on Chusan in 1702-03, who reported that all the goods on sale there were from Ningpo, Hang Chow or Nanking and that he would visit each town when he had a little knowledge of the language. Who could say that today? The only bar to a foreigner’s travels in China 130 years ago was the language. Now, since the factory moved to Canton, trade has become much greater and more important but we cannot now walk ½ mile from the factory without risking a beating and robbery. The China Trade Act permits free trade to all the ports of China. The British merchant will sell his goods where they attract the highest price and buy Chinese goods where they are cheapest. We can leave the matter of national honour to Lord Napier.[231]

Vol 7 No 26 – Tuesday 1st July 1834

From a contributor – To assess the political power of China it is necessary to first assess its financial power. The immediate difficulty is the unreliability of national statistics. All officials are involved in private money-making. We know the reality of written records is widely at variance with the reality on the ground, if only because they exclude a proper record of bribes, fees and confiscations. The public Chinese records are accordingly all unreliable but we have nothing else to use.

From these statistics, Chinese revenue appears to be better than most of Europe. The land tax is an inexhaustible source of public funds. The salt monopoly and the Customs revenue on trade are lesser taxes but overall it seems that taxes are levied on the necessaries of life. It is not the consumer but the producer who pays. The manufacturer’s labour seems exempt from tax. There is no punitive tax on luxuries. China prefers to collect tax in kind rather than cash. In this way it receives not only rice but pearls and ginseng from Manchuria which it then sells as an Imperial monopoly. Every year there has been a surplus of income over expenditure.

We really cannot believe the little rebellions in Turkestan and on Taiwan have produced a large deficit at the national treasury as has been said. The Kien Lung Emperor waged repeated war but was able to remit the entire land tax on three separate occasions. Nowadays the To Kwong Emperor complains of inability to meet his expenses. We suspect that some serious mismanagement is occurring at the national Treasury.

The Emperor is the father of his people and the sole proprietor of their property. The officials he appoints to represent him participate in these patriarchal privileges. All officials partake of the labour of the people.

Vol 7 No 26 – Tuesday 1st July 1834

Viceroy Loo is said to be disinterested in business. He certainly does not interfere with us and is always ready to compromise disputes. He is advised by Mow Qua who might be the author of this new ‘hands-off’ policy. Some people are saying the Emperor appointed him in consideration of his relaxed and peaceful disposition, as a means of satisfying the foreign community at Canton. This new peaceful reign appears to extend to the Cantonese as well.

Judge Lee has issued a couple of patriarchal proclamations recently admonishing the people to abstain from robbery and thus avoid the chance of punishment and to abstain from litigation by settling their disputes between themselves and not giving their money to greedy lawyers. A reader in Europe might conclude that litigation in Canton is being brought to an end but in fact some Chinese Judges routinely foment disputes to get the fees of legal proceedings. We hope Judge Lee is not like that.

Vol 7 No 26 – Tuesday 1st July 1834

Letter to the Editor – Your article on tea was interesting. We know very little about it. Our attempts to transplant it have so far failed.[232] We do not know enough about the environment it likes or the treatment we should give it. I have walked around the tea district of Chekiang and seen the orderly rows of the shrub at Hing Hwa. It thrives in a stony clay soil and is planted on the southern slopes of hills. It grows wildly very well without attention but the leaves of the wild plant are coarser and less dense than the pruned plant. We only know of two species of Camellia that produce tea but it seems there are probably many others. Chinese writings on tea contain a formidable nomenclature of the various types. It seems the commercial crop is all planted between 25º – 31º N.

The question is often asked – does the one shrub produce all the different types of tea? This is really the case but the shrub is like the grape vine in so far as some districts produce one type of tea better than others. We suppose the processing of the leaves should not cause any variation in their flavour. The pruning of the shrub is always done very carefully and it is only productive for 4-5 years after which the leaves become too coarse. We hope some botanist will elucidate the subject so we can grow tea ourselves. Sgd Your Constant Reader

Vol 7 No 26 – Tuesday 1st July 1834

Letter to the Editor – The recent floods were due to a rise in the level of the rivers. Around Canton this rise exceeded six feet. This can hardly be the consequence of rain. We suspect it is the snow melt in the west that causes it. Possibly the annual Yangtse River floods are due to the same cause.

This year the damage is far worse than previously. It is widely supposed that, on low-lying land, 80% of the rice crop has been destroyed. Several thousand houses near Canton have collapsed. The government is distributing free rice to the worst hit areas.

It would be a singularly Christian thing for us to raise a subscription to buy and freely distribute rice to our suffering neighbours.

Sgd A Foreigner

Vol 7 No 27 – Tuesday 8th July 1834

The Singapore Chronicle of 18th June this year contains a long extract from Alexander’s East India Magazine for December 1833 listing the differences that occurred between the English and the Chinese at Canton between 1810-1830.

Vol 7 No 27 – Tuesday 8th July 1834

Editorial – The recent proposal in this paper to raise a subscription for the alleviation of hardship from the floods has been backed by a highly respectable merchant. We have since investigated the matter further and now conclude we have nothing to gain from such charity. We think the government would not admit our assistance. In April the Chinese Repository drew attention to the vagrants in suburban Canton and financial help was offered through the Hong merchants but was refused by a leading Hong merchant.

He said distributing free clothes and food would attract a huge crowd and the competition to get the alms would excite affrays and cause danger.

The recent floods have caused more hardship but the government routinely does not divulge the extent of the calamities due to flood, fire and earthquake. In the Chinese belief, local disasters are due to local maladministration and the officials understandably suppress all information about it. We have repeatedly enquired about the extent of the present disaster but can get no good information. We only know that in some respects the information we have received has been grossly exaggerated. When the sufferers themselves recover we may get a better idea of their hardship. What would be of more use than donations of clothes and cash is the establishment of a hospital ashore or afloat for both Chinese and Europeans. We invite comment.

Vol 7 No 27 – Tuesday 8th July 1834

Letter to the Editor – The Quarterly Review extols us to obey Chinese law but the remarks of three former Presidents of the Company’s Select Committee differ. I have ransacked the Imperial legal code and reviewed my large files of local Cantonese edicts to barbarians. I can read Chinese and do not need to see translations. The only reference to western barbarians that I could find refers to Kalmucks and Mongols.

I believe the difference arises because commentators in Europe rely on the works of du Halde and others of that time, whilst the free traders are more up to date. How can people who neither read Chinese nor visit the country have a better opinion than those that are here? They require us to obey a body of law that does not exist.

The laws of successive Emperors are numerous and no official knows them all. They only follow these authorities when they find it convenient to do so. When the Cantonese go to law they do not prepare quotations from Imperial law – it is simpler to pay a few dollars. If the Quarterly Review writer would come here and refer a case to Chinese law, he would learn what justice is available.

The Edicts of Viceroy Lee and Foo Yuen Choo were whimsical and impractical as the following observations on them attest:

  • How can the foreigners absent themselves from Canton in the summer months when they continue to transact such important (smuggling) business during that time?
  • The prohibition on travelling by boat from Canton to Whampoa unless the ship’s captain is present.
  • Not leaving the factory without the express permission of one’s security merchant.

These trivial laws ought not to be obeyed but where does one draw the line? Which law is reasonable and which is not? These local edicts are an incoherent and often contradictory expression of the day-to-day concerns of local officials. They are not the laws of China. The Hong merchants and Linguists are supposed to tutor us in suppressing our profligacy and pride. For us to receive such admonitions from these worthless people would be a real insult. Fortunately they neglect this duty entirely and only the innate respectability of the barbarians preserves the situation.

How can these distant observers recommend conciliation when the experience of two centuries has revealed obedience continually results in disputes, stoppage of trade, insults and repeated aggression?

We will not return to the old times. We will assert the honour of the British flag and avoid all mischief. Your London correspondent fears the dreadful consequences of England being viewed in China as an independent country. His intentions may be good but we do not want to trade like the Dutch in Japan. They have sunk so low in national honour they scarcely have any trade left. It is the national characteristic of the Chinese to treat all submissive people with contempt and to respect those who maintain their respectability. This is the factual basis to our relationship and requires a different line of conduct to that advocated by the Quarterly Review.

Sgd Studiosus

Vol 7 No 28 – Tuesday 15th July 1834

Spoof letter to the Editor from ‘Ching Kung’, confirming the thinking of the free traders at this time:

You seem to think that your measures for increasing trade will provoke jealousy from us. I myself like to wear a woollen and calico jacket when I can afford to. My compatriots in Shantung and Kiang Nan are the same. But you only trade to Canton so they are too expensive.

I have friends in the tea trade who say the article is much cheaper at the place of origin. It is not only smugglers who reason that self interest is stronger than national prejudice. Many officials believe your access to all our ports would be good. We Chinese are in fact only interested in gain but for our dignity we talk about virtue and benevolence. Your long-term residents know this. Why do you not tell the English at home that we just want to enrich ourselves even if it means dealing in foreign trade.

We are not misanthropes. Only our customs and language isolate us. We know it is impossible to live separately from you for much longer. If we must have foreign relations, we prefer you to the Koreans, Siamese, Mongols, etc., who have hitherto held close relations with us.

It seems the strong language of our officials has unsettled you. Words for us are just substitutes for action. We always yield to reason. You give up too easily. We do not really despise you, we just find you peculiar. If you continue to send tribute bearers we will treat you as tributaries. If you wish to avoid this, take care not to submit to inferiors. We will never admit that your physical strength is greater than ours. We promote our system because it obscures weakness.

The Emperor knows you are strong and that he can refuse you nothing if you only ask properly but you only visit him as supplicants.

Vol 7 No 29 – Tuesday 22nd July 1834

Letter to the Editor – The proposal for a subscription for the relief of Chinese poor should not have been made to the Hong merchants. They may be individually humane but their corporate interest lies in keeping us quiet. Self-interest is the master principle in human nature. The Hong merchants would have us dumb if possible. When we move them to do something they sometimes get squeezed.

Actually I suspect the principle behind the proposal was not Christian – we just want to raise our standing in Chinese eyes. In giving alms the Lord says ‘’let not thy left hand know what thy right doeth’. We do not want the intercession of officials and Hong merchants. We have poor Chinese already working as servants for us. They can find suitable people for our compassion. Something like this was done in the disaster last year and no publicity ensued.

The Hospital for the Poor in Canton was not set up through the intermediary of the Hong merchants. Individual benevolence finds a way. Sgd RM

Vol 7 No 29 – Tuesday 22nd July 1834

Editorial – A pamphlet published in London in 1830 on the China trade says “the conduct of the Chinese government towards foreigners is unwarranted by its own law. The laws are legally applicable only to enemies in neighbouring states (the Tartars were the foreigners in this case). To extend the law to us is so hostile as to demand notice by the British government. We are not part of the four surrounding barbarians that China legislated against. They did not even include Babylon or Persia or the Jews. If not Greece and Rome, why America and Europe? The supposition that we are barbarians is patently absurd. For the Chinese to enact law on old suppositions is as foolish as the Pope dividing the world in two, and giving it to his two best friends.

Vol 7 No 29 – Tuesday 22nd July 1834

The Quarterly Review always tells us to ‘obey the law’. Now Studiosus suggests there is no law.

In fact in China the word of the Emperor is law.

In all countries long usage also becomes law.[233]

There actually are Chinese laws about Europeans – the law of non-intercourse is in the penal code; the interdiction of foreign use of sedan chairs was made law in 1830; the expulsion of foreigners from all cities except Canton is law by long usage.

Studiosus must be wrong.

I am a Christian. I cannot believe the Emperor represents Heaven. The consequences are too wicked. Governments legislate for the protection of peoples’ lives and property to preserve the even tenor of their peoples’ lives. When governments try to legislate on politics, art, religion or any of the ‘things of the mind’, they should be ignored and it is done so without sin. Wicked law need not be obeyed.

Foolish law can be evaded as we already do. I break the commercial law but meet the Hong merchants and linguists daily without feeling any remorse. If I could travel safely through China tomorrow, trading and handing out bibles, I would do so without concern for the laws I had broken. Sgd A Tyro

Vol 7 No 30 – Tuesday 29th July 1834

A brief life of Mencius is published from Abel Remusat’s Nouveaux Melanges Asiatiques. It is continued in the 5th August edition.

Vol 7 No 30 – Tuesday 29th July 1834

The foundling hospital and the hospital for old, sick and blind, which are both established in the Canton suburbs, are financed by a 620 Tael fee on foreign ships bringing rice. This tax must have produced an enormous sum during the shortages last year (unless it is treated like the Consoo Fund and appropriated for other purposes). Does it constitute sufficient reason to request Chinese officials to keep the area in front of the factories clear? Respondentia Walk is thronged every evening by blind and decrepit wretches who importune and annoy every passer-by. Part of the annoyances of life in Canton derive from Cantonese unwillingness to make any improvement in their own lives. Sgd An Enquirer.

Vol 7 No 31 – Tuesday 5th August 1834

The Superintendents held a meeting on 4th August to discuss a postal system to / from Canton. It was proposed that Charles Markwick is ‘fit and proper’ to run the British Post Office at Canton.

He will be authorised to receive all letters from British ships. 5¢ will be charged on each letter. 20¢ on each parcel under 1 lb with 5¢ per extra lb to a maximum of $1.

Local letters to / from Macau will be charged at 10¢ and forwarded every Wednesday and Saturday. Newspapers will be delivered free.

A letter to the home government has been sent requesting ship captains be apprised of this arrangement. Delivery should be to Macau or to one of the receiving ships at Lintin or Kum Sing Mun which commander must send them straight to Markwick in Canton.

Markwick must be kept advised of shipping departure dates so he can send postal packets by the earliest ship. Merchants are invited to another meeting on 8th August to approve these arrangements.

Sgd J H Astell

Vol 7 No 31 – Tuesday 5th August 1834

Letter to the London Times (from a well known & long established China free-trader):

There can be no employment of ex-Company officials under the new Consul. A new system requires new parties, not men with a long history of tolerated abuse and ill-treatment from the Chinese.

We could form a Chamber of Commerce from amongst the resident merchants and some of them could be chosen each year by the Consul as unpaid advisers. They could meet with the Hong merchants and discuss trade issues leaving the Consul free to intervene with the Viceroy or Hoppo in any cases that evade resolution.

I have discussed this with some Hong merchants who consider it workable. The Consul should not have a council assisting him – he must be solely responsible.

Vol 7 No 31 – Tuesday 5th August 1834

Letter to the Editor:

The India Company’s Bengal Treasury has opened offering bills at 204 Sicca Rupees per $100 Spanish. The Berwickshire is coming here with a cargo financed by the Company and consigned to two of its ex-Select Committee. It appears the India Company is continuing trading. Sgd A Beginner

(Editor – the Company controls the productions of India i.e. Bengal opium. It has appointed Agents in Canton. The creation of a Leadenhall Street interest at Canton is suspicious.[234]The home government must not shackle us with its favourite interests. We tell the Company “We, who would not buy tea dear, are resolved to buy Rupees cheap”)

Vol 7 No 31 – Tuesday 5th August 1834

Letter to the Editor – The Hong merchants may be commercially reliable but their official character is false and deceitful. They hold ignorant prejudices against us. Several of them particularly dislike the English. They are not the people to distribute our money to the poor, as has been suggested. We should focus our compassion on hospitals and medical attendances. Giving away money will encourage the vicious and depraved.

Concerning the funding of the hospital by charges on foreign rice shipments your information is incorrect. The fee of 630 taels is made up of 480 taels for port clearance, 32 taels for silver weight loss and carriage to Peking and 116 taels for the Superintendent of the Granaries. It is only the last item, nominally for grain for the hospital, that is provided to the hospitals but the 630 tael fee is paid by all the shipping not just rice ships. If such a large sum really funded the hospitals there would not be so many maimed beggars in the streets. If we investigated this, we would probably discover some astounding facts.

Vol 7 No 31 – Tuesday 5th August 1834

Beggars in China are organised by the Police into hierarchical groups and each head beggar gets a begging licence from the magistrate. Not long ago a group of beggars importuned some coastal fishermen so insistently, they appealed for relief and the head beggar was threatened with loss of his licence.

He had been collecting about $1,000 per year from shopkeepers who did not want beggars loitering outside their premises. The head beggar sent $200 to the magistrate who called him in, gave him a serious talk, threatened him with dire consequences if another complaint was made and forgave him. It is an extraordinary thing that the Emperor’s servant can be influenced by a beggar.[235]

Vol 7 No 32 – Tuesday 12th August 1834

Meerut Observer 12th June – Mr Falconer, the officer in charge of the Botanical Gardens at Suharunpore, has been told to select places in British India for the cultivation of tea.

Mr Gordon (previously an employee of Mackintosh & Co) is appointed at 1,000 sicca rupees per month to get a supply of plants from China and learn what he can of their cultivation.

(Editor – We are delighted to see this beneficial speculation. It would be singular if the ex-monopolist should become our competitor)[236]

Vol 7 No 32 – Tuesday 12th August 1834

After the Chinese, the Indians are the best people for the tedious business of tea farming. We know little about pruning the plants or gathering and drying the leaves. All we know is contained in the letter of “A Constant Reader” in our No 26. He is one of very few Europeans who have visited the tea districts.

Vol 7 No 33 – Tuesday 19th August 1834

Peter Auber’s book ‘China, an outline of the Government, Laws and Policy’ is reviewed by the London Metropolitan Magazine (March issue):

This book is a practical work. Whenever the local Select Committee acted with spirit it was censured by the Court of Directors and required to ‘preserve our trade’. This was how the Chinese always got the better of the Company. Our degraded condition at Canton is well captured in this book. Firmness and even violence are the only ways of ameliorating our conditions.

When Innes visited an official, a servant rushed out and hit him. Innes complained to the Hoppo who laughed at him. Innes then requested justice before 8pm or he would fire a Congreve rocket into the Viceroy’s yamen. The Hoppo smiled and left. At 8pm Innes fired-off his rocket and the Viceroy’s yamen was soon ablaze. Innes then got justice for his arson.

On reviewing this book we conclude that our demand to change the system here cannot succeed. American and other European support is meaningless because the Chinese see us all as barbarians and the Company as our controller. Napier will not be like a submissive Select. The Chinese are perplexed. The upshot is likely to be forced trade, a possible revolution, a foreign settlement on China’s coast and, in one or two hundred years, another possession like India. This will advance China and humanity but will cause much present misery.

Everyone should read this book. If we cannot trade legally we should expand our smuggling. An imbecile despotism should not be permitted to defer the blessings of civilisation on so many millions. We will have to enforce change if they will not make it themselves. The clergy changes the spiritual welfare of the people – we should be allowed to change their temporal conditions.

Vol 7 No 34 – Tuesday 26th August 1834

At a meeting on 8th August the proposed postal service between Canton and Macau was approved. The same plan as reported previously was agreed plus foreign (non-English) merchants are also invited to authorise Markwick if they wish to obtain access to the service.

Vol 7 No 35 – Tuesday 2nd September 1834

Each Western generation tries to advance in knowledge over the previous. Each Chinese generation tries to conform with the strictures of ancient sages.

We have just seen a new Chinese book called the King Kwei Sin Shu (warning to people of rank) in four volumes.

Readers will recall the atrocities of Yeh Mang Chi who was executed in Canton last November. This new book recounts Yeh’s life from when he returned to his village until his strangling. It says after his death, the surviving villagers planned to take revenge on his family but were reminded of the ordeals Yeh was suffering in the Buddhist Hell and were thus placated.

It is a moral story. It is particularly interesting for the insight into domestic Cantonese life. A sinologist may know that already but the general western reader will find it fascinating.

Vol 7 No 35 – Tuesday 2nd September 1834

Some changes in the Chinese army are apparent from the recent campaign in Taiwan. They have changed their bullets from gold and silver to iron and lead.

Vol 7 No 36 9th September 1834

Letter to the Editor from James Innes concerning his request to Daniell to give satisfaction for a professed (but as yet unknown) insult:

J N Daniell says in the Bombay press that he offered to duel with me for his libel. This is untrue. I asked him for satisfaction but he never showed-up. Our seconds agreed a bundle of papers as representing the truth of the dispute but his has since added this nonsense about his willingness to fight.

I sent a letter to his second (John C Whiteman) two times but he refused to receive it. I went to Whiteman’s house on 3rd September and struck him with a bamboo as an insult. I wanted him to name a second and give me satisfaction as well but he refused. (Some of the documents are attested by Napier as a Commissioner for Oaths and witnessed by A R Johnstone. NB – articles concerning Lord Napier are mostly in the chapter of that name)

Vol 7 No 37 – Tuesday 16th September 1834

Editor’s Protest – when I published Innes’ letters concerning his dispute with Daniell, the 2nd member of the last Select Committee, that man responded by cancelling all Company subscriptions to the Canton Register – these orders ended supply of copies to local officers, 12 copies to the Court in London and 12 copies to the Indian presidencies.

This was a result of his personal dispute and our publication of the details of it. It was a breach of the Company’s implied contract to take a full year’s subscription.

Supplement – Tuesday 16th September 1834

The porcelain tower of Nanking has been described by Europeans. It was commenced in 1413 and completed after 19 years at a cost of 2,485,484 taels. The globe on its roof is 42 feet in circumference and incorporates 48 catties of gold and 1,400 catties of copper. Each storey is 21 feet high. There are nine iron rings around the pinnacle each over 70 feet in circumference. It contains numerous bells and chains. In the upper part is a solid piece of gold weighing 40 taels and another of silver weighing 1,000 taels. There are many other precious items including Buddhist texts. It was erected in the Ming when Buddhism was widely favoured.[237] The lamps are no longer lit but there are 49 on the inside and 128 outside. They burn 50 catties of oil a day when lit. The establishment required to manage this pagoda is 850 people.

On the 5th year of Ka Hing it was struck by lightning. Repairs commenced in the 7th year and were completed in three months. It was struck again in 12th year of Ka Hing damaging the glazed porcelain tiles at the 6th floor. It was then closed for a year for repairs. We respect Chinese ingenuity in building this tower but wonder at its function.

In Fukien there are many solid granite pagodas built on coastal prominences to serve as beacons to the coasting junk traffic. They are so well built that the joints of the individual stones can hardly be detected. If they were lit they would be more useful. They were reportedly commenced in the Sung dynasty and concluded in the Ming.

Vol 7 No 38 – Tuesday 23rd September 1834

Some American traders from Canton and Macau who went to Whampoa 16 days ago have been detained there ever since. They have made no complaint at the city gate.

This suggests that any hostilities between China and England will have an impact on the other foreign communities here.

Vol 7 No 38 – Tuesday 23rd September 1834

On 18th September the Chinese held a parade of eight fire rafts in the river in front of the factories. This seems to be bravado, like the tiger’s face painted on the soldier’s breast and the character ‘ying’ (brave) on his back.[238]

Vol 7 No 40 – 7th October 1834

  • Advertisement – Sets of 60-day Company Bills on Bombay at 2,133 Bombay Rupees each. Apply to J M & Co.
  • Advertisement – rice sufficient to avoid the cumshaw and measurement duties is available at Lintin for transhipment. Apply Arthur S Keating.

Vol 7 No 40 – 7th October 1834

Trade has resumed but many Chinese dealers have not yet returned to Canton and things are quiet.

Vol 7 No 40 – 7th October 1834

The British Court of Criminal and Admiralty jurisdiction in China:

H M’s instructions to Napier for judicial services have not yet arrived but owing to the alleged libel of Innes by Daniell, the former applied for a hearing and Napier said on 16th September (in a pamphlet circulated amongst the traders and not published in this paper although it was reportedly published in Macau) that he would exercise his judicial functions notwithstanding his lack of instructions. The court may be said to have been established from that date.

Vol 7 No 40 – 7th October 1834

Letter to the Editor – It is astonishing that the provincial government of Canton requires bonds from its Hong merchants to prevent English warships from revisiting China (in connection with Napier’s arrival). This will become a rationale for big squeezes.

The legitimate purpose of the Hongs is to act as accredited brokers for both sides. What tea or silk merchant will want to lodge his goods with a Hong which capital is so exposed to forfeiture. I believe it is this that is slowing the recovery of trade.

The other difficulty now is the derangement of our monetary system by the British government. The Company has metamorphosed from tea trader to finance company, contrary to the terms of the Act. No one knows what rate of exchange to apply on Bills, whether buying or selling. The Company’s people from England are offering 206 Sicca Rupees while the authorised local agents are offering 204 Sicca Rupees. It is a complete mess. Sgd Delta

Vol 7 No 40 – 7th October 1834

The annexation of Tibet to China was commenced by the Hong Hei Emperor and completed by Kien Lung. The Chinese were motivated to control the Tibetan lamas as they number the troublesome Mongols amongst their devotees.

The Manchus drove the Kalmacks out of Tibet and restored the Dalai Lama and Bonchin Erdeni.

The Tibetan plateau is too cold to be productive. There is gold there which the Chinese might work to defray the costs of their colonial government but they have not formerly done so.

The Kien Lung Emperor also fought with Burma and Tong King but unsuccessfully.

Vol 7 No 43 – Tuesday 28th October 1834

On 10th June a ship arrived at Liverpool from Danzig with the first cargo of free teas. The law requires that tea comes from east of the Cape and Danzig just qualifies. This unintended consequence of sloppy law drafting has caused some excitement. The government has proscribed the sale of the tea saying it is not in the spirit of the Act. It will now be exported.

Vol 7 No 43 – Tuesday 28th October 1834

Letter to the Editor – What we have learned is that when we have insufficient power to resist we should not try to do so. We need a Plenipotentiary with an adequate force. We can then fight a paper war and only if necessary back it with real force.

No negotiations should be done in Canton. The system there is set in stone because everyone is making money from us. We should consider Canton as a place of trade and do our negotiating some place else. This might preserve the trade throughout any confrontations. If negotiations have to be done at Canton we should start by stopping trade. What hurts us hurts them too.

Sgd ‘a commonplace writer’

Vol 7 No 43 – Tuesday 28th October 1834

Viceroy Loo has prohibited all dealings between the outside men and foreigners. Our trade with outside men is extensive and we think this restriction cannot be enforced.[239]

Vol 7 No 43 – Tuesday 28th October 1834

Letter to the Editor – Chinese finances are disastrous; the land and sea forces are a joke. Its astonishing how bold Loo was in throwing out Napier and the warships. The five maritime provinces are open to our trade. At Ningpo and Kiangsu we were asked to send representatives.

Our penetration of China is progressing. The Chinese should know they have to make an agreement with us. We have long dealt with Chinese officials. Their Edicts are all untruthful. A reference to the Emperor on the trade system of Canton might have caused the stoppage of trade to continue for months. We must prevent that whilst working out a new system.

Sgd A commonplace writer

Vol 7 No 45 – Tuesday 11th November 1834

The Edict prohibiting dealings between foreigners and outside men is causing inconvenience. Even tailors and shoemakers are afraid to come to the factories. The prohibition was only supposed to apply to wholesale goods not retail.

What Loo is trying to stop is solely the practise of outside men using a Hong’s name (by agreement) for trade with foreigners.[240]

Vol 7 No 45 – Tuesday 11th November 1834

The new British Chamber of Commerce has published a paper itemising the injurious consequences of having the Company’s Agent deal in Bills here. It seems the entire community supports an end to the Company’s China business.

Vol 7 No 45 – Tuesday 11th November 1834

Chinese officials on first meeting barbarians are not unreasonable but they will try to dominate anyone who is prepared to suffer their high opinions.

Vol 7 No 45 – Tuesday 11th November 1834

Letter to the Superintendents from James Matheson, Chairman, British Chamber 24th October:

The Company is still here – selling bills on India[241] and buying Bills on London, secured on consignments of goods that are consequently under their control. Please report this to the governments of India and England.

Statement of the British Chamber:

The Company is financing goods consigned by the foreign traders here to England and collecting payment on arrival. The new law contrarily says they have consented to suspend their trade. They are supposed to close their business and leave. Instead they are collecting debts due and using the money to finance new trade. This will transfer their profits from here to London. The Court is already able to accomplish this transfer by drawing bills on India and by India remitting London bills back to the Court of Directors. These bills they issue locally are profitable. They exceed the natural rate of exchange (206 sicca rupees per $100 instead of 204 offered). This will lead to their resuming business as before. And by promoting speculation here, they are causing a rise in the price of Chinese exports.[242] They thus benefit China at the expense of the British consumer.

The legislature intended that the whole China trade be opened. The Company is hindering the development of a British capital market here by applying the revenues of India to this market. They propose to invest £600,000 this year. Which British private banker can compete with the sovereign interests of the Company? By taking an important position in trade finance they can influence prices here for Chinese exports by providing or withholding their capital. They also prevent the growth of British trade as most British manufactures are sold by barter. Now the Company is giving the Chinese exporter two thirds of the value of his goods and his incentive to take British manufactures in barter is gone. The Company acts as London agents to the China traders who accept its advances (as a term of the loan – c.f. the terms of free trade from Indian ports post 1813). This gives them a strong position in the London agency trade over the existing participants.

Finally the trade here is concentrated on 11 Chinese merchants with whom we trade and from whom we receive government instruction. Such a large capital as the Company’s could powerfully influence us both politically and commercially. It might again give rise to their tea monopoly.

Vol 7 No 45 – Tuesday 11th November 1834

Edict of Viceroy Loo and the new Hoppo Pang:

“Hong merchants are trusted people. They are appointed to trade with barbarians so we can prevent clandestine meetings of foreigners with Chinese for trade. Now a new class of trader (the shopmen), who is dependant on the Hongs, has appeared.

He lowers the prices of goods without care for the value of the stock remaining. The small under-financed Hongs support him and discount the Imperial duties by 20-30% for him. In addition to shopmen openly attached to Hongs, there are many others in the side streets who publish signs “xxx Hong’s warehouse” and solicit foreign business. Their proprietors call themselves supervisors or assistants of “xxx Hong”. The participants allege the shop is a part of the Hong but in reality its purpose is to make transactions between shopmen and foreigners. If the small Hong fails, the Imperial revenue is defrauded by the shopman retaining his profit.

This was how Low Ah Hok of Man Hop Hong and Loo Lau Kwan of Chun Qua’s Hong made their money.

Now there is Lee Ah Tso and Shui Ah Kwan using Fat Qua’s name for business. And there is Tsui Ah Man and others who monopolise the business of the shops selling foreign goods and who sell the duty demands on goods which they report in the Hong’s name (i.e. the Hoppo issues revenue demand notes and the shopmen create a market in them by selling new for old thus providing purchasers with a longer time to remit revenue on an increasing amount of trade). This causes the duties to remain unpaid year after year.

“These shops buying foreign goods. They also buy and sell Chinese goods. It is a gross infraction of the rules. Employees of Hongs may trade only in that Hong’s goods. They cannot borrow the Hong’s name for trade. These traders are unknown to the government and have nothing to dread. They talk with barbarians and risk disturbance. I have told the Foo magistrate to arrest and prosecute them. The Hong merchants are advised that shops for foreign goods may only purchase from Hong merchants. They may not secretly use the Hong’s name to trade with barbarians.

“All goods sold to barbarians by Hong merchants must have a fair price. The shopmen are not allowed to lower the prices and capture the market. Neither may Hong merchants unite with shopmen, giving them fictitious jobs in their businesses and screening them from official view. Only the commercial men of the Hongs are permitted to enter the barbarian factories. Any one else found there will be prosecuted as a traitor. If shopmen use the name of a Hong to make business and that Hong fails they will themselves become liable to pay outstanding duties. This is the law.”

Vol 7 No 46 – Tuesday 18th November 1834

Advertisements – The factory at 1 Danish Hong is for rent for the season from 15th November 1834 – 6th February 1835. One half of a neat factory, newly furnished. Apply R Markwick & Co, Canton.

Vol 7 No 46 – Tuesday 18th November 1834

Proceedings of the British Chamber of Commerce at Canton:

At a meeting on 15th November it was agreed to defer election of office bearers until 31st December 1834. Until then any merchant in Canton can become a member on application.[243]

Vol 7 No 46 – Tuesday 18th November 1834

Notice – The Superintendents of British Trade note the Canton government does not recognise their official character nor permit official communication with them. No channel is available for the expression of views by either side to the other. The Superintendents note that several communications of the Canton government through the Hong to the private merchants contain information that should more appropriately be sent to the British government.

Perhaps they are not authentic?

An official correspondence through commercial channels is undignified. The Superintendents will not correspond on behalf of the British government with Hong merchants and neither will they act on messages received through that channel. If they are formally approached they might respond but they prefer to await instructions from London.

If a British national has any comments he wishes to address to the Superintendents they will be pleased to receive them. They counsel Englishmen to avoid providing grounds of complaint to the Chinese and to refrain from alluding to the past or speculating about the future. They should all display a deliberate reserve of conduct and a confidence in the decision awaited from London. If British subjects have complaints against the Chinese we hope they will advise us and be guided by our judgement. Our purpose is to preserve a temperate climate in Canton until the course of our future conduct has been agreed. Sgd Elliot, 10th November

Editor – most of us believe the Superintendents are powerless. Their authority was nullified by the rejection of Napier by the Chinese and his removal to Macau. The Royal Commission was addressed to Napier and required his residence at Canton. As the Commission does not reside at Canton it cannot legally exercise any of its powers.

Now they are asking us to surrender our rights of thought and judgement to theirs. The judgement of the last Select Committee was weak and biased. The involvement of this new ‘Select’ in the free trade cannot be tolerated.

Only Davis has seniority. The other two would have spent years before being promoted to management positions commensurate with former Select Committee members.

The Superintendents ask us to rely on the wisdom of the British government. We ourselves doubt that wisdom. The late proceedings with China, the Company acting as bill brokers here, the Superintendents being partly paid by the Company – these are not the hallmarks of wisdom.

Vol 7 No 46 – Tuesday 18th November 1834

Letter to the Editor – We need a little phrase book in Canton that lists all the pretentious phrases used in Chinese memorials. ‘Cherishing compassion and tenderness to distant foreigners’ comes from the Shu King. ‘Yee Muh’ (barbarian eye) was originally applied to Miao headmen. There is a goldmine of ‘catch phrases’ in the ancient texts.

If the provincial government officials would really disdain from trade, as they say, and leave it to the merchants we will have a splendid time. One hundred thousand in duties is nothing; our foreign goods are superfluous, why does the Emperor send his slave here to be Hoppo? Surely trade is unworthy of his attention? We should take the Chinese at their word. They should cancel all their paltry fees and let the ‘necessities’ they sell us pass without any duty.

Sgd Your Constant Reader

Vol 7 No 48 – Tuesday 2nd December 1834

Editorial – What do we want in China?

Access. We want to exercise ourselves and go game-hunting or row on the river. We want to buy our own provisions in the shops and markets. We want to live with our wives and children. We want to trade with whoever will buy.
Law. We do not ask China to change its law; we ask to be treated as the Chinese treat themselves. Why does the government not talk to us or allow us access to Chinese courts? We do not ask to be naturalised, to hold office, own land, intermarry or to be exempt from their written law. It is from the misrule, which they acknowledge they apply to us, that we wish to be removed.
Contact. Any Chinese who contacts a foreigner is liable to oppression. We are said to contaminate them. This is not the popular view but solely government policy.

Vol 7 No 48 – Tuesday 2nd December 1834

British Relations and Intercourse with China is a pamphlet published in London by ‘an American Merchant’ at about the time of Napier’s departure from that city for China. An excerpt:

“The free trade will have a deep effect on the unsuspecting inhabitants of East Asia. After two hundred years of trade, Chinese national policy remains unchanged. The British find this incomprehensible. They are active all around the globe; only in China have they failed to make an impression.

“China is a huge Empire with borders approaching the Caspian and with British India. Its views are important. It is undoubtedly within British ability to change the harsh and absurd customs of China into laws that are intelligible to Christian nations. This is a matter for the British public to decide.

“The enemy is not the Chinese people or even the junior officials, it is a small group of higher officials who maintain Manchu exclusiveness. Many of them have become opium smokers. We are unsure how much information reaches the Emperor or whether he is the author of policy. We can overcome this prejudiced group by disseminating truth – political, social and religious truth – that was how the Huns of northern Europe were civilised.”

Editor – Britain leads the China trade and is duty-bound to lead the other nations in opening China. “An American merchant” may be right about disseminating information to China but how do we do it?

Vol 7 No 48 – Tuesday 2nd December 1834

Editorial – Stoppages of trade at Canton and the absence of fixed regulations there stimulate our attempts to trade elsewhere. If Canton had to compete with other ports, the fear of reduced profit would soon remove every obstacle, but is it practicable? The Chinese government is exclusive. It does not want relations with Europeans.

The first step must be to obtain China’s agreement to British equality. We are not advocating war. Neither do we recommend those measures we have tried before. The more we know of the Chinese government the more we will be able to influence it.

Our voyages up the coast (in Lord Amherst, Sylph, Kronborg, etc.) have revealed that the contempt expressed for us at Canton is unique. Only two years ago the Foo Yuen of Fukien and the Viceroy of Kiang Nan both requested the Emperor for foreign trade in their provinces and we expected it would be granted. The Foo Yuen of Chekiang sent an aide, previously employed at the Peking court, to our ship to whom we explained the entire philosophy of free trade in order that he could explain it to the Court. We should have followed-up on these initiatives. Chinese exclusiveness was not apparent at those places. In fact Chinese visits to our ships were frequent and excessive. The officers at Shanghai and Chapu themselves tore down offensive Edicts of the Canton type when their impropriety was pointed out. Canton is not synonymous with China. We should extend our commerce to the utmost limits.

Vol 7 No 48 – Tuesday 2nd December 1834

On 29th November, sixty ‘sons of St Andrew’ met at 1 Danish Hong for a subscription dinner. Catering was arranged by Charles Markwick, Wm Jardine was in the chair.

Vol 7 No 49 – Tuesday 9th December 1834

Advertisement – 2,300 piculs of South American copper for sale at Lintin. Contact F S Hathaway at 4 Old English Factory, Canton.

Vol 7 No 49 – Tuesday 9th December 1834

Captain Holmes of the Agnes recently threw-out a boy seaman named Owens for theft. The youth, finding himself alone in a strange country, later boarded the ferry boat Sylph and robbed the serang (Lascar commander) of a red hat, two handkerchiefs and $15. H M Superintendents were advised but offered no assistance.

Vol 7 No 49 – Tuesday 9th December 1834

Letter from Charles Gutzlaff – Wm S Wetmore, J R Morrison and myself have formed a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China in order to acquaint the Chinese with our culture and knowledge. There are two booksellers in Canton City who have agreed to circulate our books to other places. Our trade with China is increasing and will soon extend all along the coast. We will then have ample opportunity to disseminate information. But for now our proposal affords the best prospects of success. I personally know how avidly the Chinese read these translations. Many texts have previously been circulated and were all well received.

Vol 7 No 50 – Tuesday 16th December 1834

Davis has appointed Charles Gutzlaff as the British Trade Commission’s Chinese Secretary at £800 pa. Elliot’s former office of master attendant (to collect the proposed tonnage duty on British trade that has since been abolished) is cancelled to permit payment to Gutzlaff.

It is believed Davis intends to return to England and Robinson will replace him. In that case, Astell will move up to 2nd. Elliot moves up to 3rd and A R Johnstone of the Mauritius civil service, son of Sir Alexander Johnstone the former chief justice of Ceylon, will become Secretary to Commission. He was formerly Napier’s Private Secretary.

Vol 7 No 50 – Tuesday 16th December 1834

James Matheson’s letter of 24th October in which he purports to be Chairman of the British Chamber is formally repudiated. A letter to Davis, Robinson and Astell dated 15th November says the Chamber is not yet formed and officers are not yet appointed. It requests the British and Indian governments be informed.

Sgd Dent & Co, Whiteman & Co, Daniell & Co, J S Mendes and 7 prominent Parsees. (this is the group of India Company supporters that petitioned for reopened trade – they form a majority on the steering committee of five that was selected to establish rules for the Chamber – Dent, Rustomjee and Boyd against Matheson and Turner, but Boyd may subsequently have changed sides. As the Company’s supporters are now in the minority on the steering committee, they disagree to Clause 11 of the Chamber’s draft Constitution which stipulates that the President and Vice President be elected by ballot of the committee, and insist on a ballot of the whole membership)

Boyd, the former Company man now speaking for the Chamber committee, says:

  • that the view expressed by Matheson is a widely held view and quite representative of the Canton trading community;
  • that the objectors to the letter are three companies and a group of Parsees who represent only a minority of the trade;
  • that most of them had previously agreed to form a Chamber but had since withdrawn unless Clause 11 in the Chamber constitution was modified.

Boyd feels they should remain in the Chamber and adapt it as they see best, not hold themselves aloof and try to prevent its formation.[244]

Elliot responds – “if the Chamber does not represent all, it will damage British trade. If the parties will apply, the Superintendents offer arbitration”.

Vol 7 No 50 – Tuesday 16th December 1834

The Scotsman ‘John Bell of Antermony’ who accompanied the embassy of Peter the Great to the Hong Hei Emperor in 1721 notes in his amusing record of the adventure that on entering Chinese territory, all the females in the party had to remain at Saratzyn. These females were soldier’s wives and not the wives of officials.

This attitude was resisted in 1830 at Canton by Baynes, the then chief of the British factory, who took his woman to Canton and, had he not been undone by Company policy, we might now enjoy female company here.

Vol 7 No 50 – Tuesday 16th December 1834

Editorial – The coast of China is now well known to us. The renewal of the trade system at Canton will entail heavy losses on those who adopt it. There may be good reasons for the exclusive policy of the Manchus but they ought not to have let it give rise to so much complaint. The people are oppressed and little care for the well-being of their officials.

The difficulty of the government in suppressing the revolts in Taiwan and by the Miao Tse, which suppressions were only achieved by bribery, reveals its weakness. Chinese soldiers are the dregs of the country; they are wretchedly equipped, dishonourable and undisciplined.

The national treasury is exhausted. The provincial administrations are run by presumptuous and ignorant officers. How can they deal with a bold and spirited people? When our trade is stopped, if we also interdict theirs along the coast, there would be a wonderful change in policy. For those in the government who are our friends we appraise them of the danger.

Fukien needs Taiwan grain. We can blockade Taiwan’s four ports with two sloops-of-war. Fukien relies on overseas trade. Three sloops would prevent all shipping leaving harbour. Shih Po, Ningpo and Hangchow could be blockaded in the same way. One warship will suffice for Shanghai. Nothing can prevent us from commanding access to the Grand Canal. One warship off the Pei Ho can control access to Tientsin. Another could stop the trade of Liaotung. Two cruisers at Shantung (off Kiaochow and Ting Chu) would prevent all communication by sea.

How would the officers of these provinces feel about the Cantonese officials who impel us to adopt these measures? The annual grain tribute is 4,365,382 shih (1 shih = 130 catties, i.e. nearly 350,000 tons). The Emperor should carefully consider the peril to his reign.

Vol 7 No 51 – Tuesday 23rd December 1834

For sale – two apartments in the factories. Particulars from R Edwards of 3 American Hong, 11th December

Vol 7 No 51 – Tuesday 23rd December 1834

Yesterday was Tung Jeet, the winter solstice, one of the periodical days for settlement of accounts by the Cantonese.

Vol 7 No 51 – Tuesday 23rd December 1834

After his inspection of Heung Shan, Viceroy Loo visited Macau on 23rd November. He was met at the new pagoda at the Porta Cerco (in the border wall at the neck of the peninsula) at 7 pm.[245] He was attended by troops marching behind his chair. He ordered 200 taels of sycee to be distributed amongst the Portuguese border guards but their officer objected. Loo did not then enter the enclave and proposed to depart at 4 am.

The Portuguese Procurador supposed the Heung Shan officials had arranged for Loo to not enter Macau to ensure that Portuguese complaints did not come to the Viceroy’s ears. The Procurador sent up two interpreters with documents concerning his difficulties. The officials tried to prevent their delivery but when one interpreter, Father Joao Rodriguez Goncalves, walked close to the Viceroy, he addressed him and used the opportunity to deliver the complaints. The Viceroy left for Casa Branca at 7 am and the two interpreters then returned to the city.

Vol 7 No 51 – Tuesday 23rd December 1834

Editorial – Chinese law has some resemblance to Justinian Law but property is less secure. The Romans legislated at length on inheritance. In China property can be confiscated under so many pretexts that the owner is reduced to a tenant on his own land. This is a great flaw. It diminishes public confidence and paralyses industry and trade.

Is the high interest on money due to its scarcity or the bad faith of debtors? Usury has evaded regulation in China. Chinese criminal law often involves both the suspect and his family. Perjury and venal judicial action were serious offences to the Romans but not in China. In China the Emperor’s will is law and his servants throughout the provinces try to emulate him in deriving new law from the principles in the ancient texts. There should be no scope for a judge to act so independently. In a despotic country like China these judicial powers have evolved to protect the power of the provincial administrators.

If there was a genuine rule of law, the provincial government staff would also have to submit to it. Instead we have arbitrary and illegal fines, cases are followed up not because of their seriousness but because of the wealth of the suspect. The judge can always find some notional grounds of guilt either by actual breach of some regulation or more likely by inability of the offender to establish the opposite.

There is one anomaly that we cannot comprehend – the Emperor asserts to treat ‘men from afar’ with tenderness but the thrust of the law concerning foreigners is only consistent with the belief that we are an enemy. In any event the Chinese people are kept in legal dread of contacting foreigners. We are spoken of in contemptuous language. And the law is so detailed that people become entangled in it – in answering one crime they fall foul of another. This allows officials to claim they always act in conformity with law and cover their injustices with an Edict asserting their proceedings are just.

But the structure of the Chinese administration is praiseworthy and their theories of national management are excellent. We are repeatedly struck by the originality of their law – their ability to legislate for attitude and thought and to determine intentions from actions. We observe so many coincidences between Roman and Chinese law that we should at least allow that Chinese law derives from a clear understanding of human nature.

It is this European perception of the theory of Chinese law, its strictness and excellence, that produces the continual advice to us from London to obey; that our attempts to change the law warrant reprobation. If those critics were aware that only part of the law is applied to enforce the national will in a flexible way they would understand our position. The Chinese government knows this academic view. They often tell us to obey or leave. Our relationship with China should be dictated by mutual interest and consent. We need laws for our protection whereas the Chinese feel they cannot impose laws on foreigners. If that is the case we must draft laws with the Chinese for our management. It is useless to refer to old laws which are never enforced. A government that promulgates unenforceable law exhibits its weakness or imprudence.

We need a representative so well acquainted with Chinese law that he can bring the Chinese side to confess they disdain to treat foreigners according to established law and therefore should expect no obedience to it.

Vol 7 No 51 – Tuesday 23rd December 1834

Editorial – Our relations with China; do we have to wage war or can we continue under the old system? Here are some simple remarks:

Every foreign merchant in Canton wants free trade with all the Chinese ports. Many observers think our cause is hopeless. The Chinese assert an a priori right to tell us on what terms they will deal with us. They refuse to grant our wish for free trade. In England few people understand the benefit of opening the other ports. Should England jeopardise its enormous revenue from the tea trade, merely to discover if it can be increased?

There is a lot to be said for Canton as a base – we have inter alia a nascent capital market here, anchorages and all shipping support services. The other ports may not be able to supply our needs.

Although there are difficulties, enterprise is undaunted. The eastern trade might still be Venetian if the Portuguese had not rounded the Cape of Good Hope; America might still be a wilderness if our efforts had been characterised by caution, indecision and mistrust. There is no human obstacle that can resist free trade. Once our trade was unilaterally declared free, the opening of other Chinese ports became essential and the barrier against foreign rights was destroyed. It is no longer a question of whether we will extend our trade but when, and the British and Chinese governments will anticipate this if they are prudent. Can it be supposed that the free trader will remain at Canton and not try to force a market up the coast or that the Chinese government would ever be strong enough to repel us? If China does not legalise free trade it will be forced upon her and that will cause damage to her national dignity and loss of revenue. A century ago we could not have foreseen the way British trade would increase here. Nor can we today foretell the situation when other ports have been opened.

As trade on one side is free, the perseverance of our smugglers and their Chinese accomplices will accomplish a revolution in commercial relations between our countries. We want to do it, the Chinese merchants want to do it – what is now a smuggling trade will soon become a systematic and lawful one. The Chinese calculate that the advantages from more trade are less than the advantages from keeping us out. They assume the world is unchanging and that we forever remain barbarians until we submit to Chinese (cultural) hegemony.

We could wait for Peking to make proposals for general trade. To dictate a commercial treaty over the barrel of a gun is unjustifiable but we must have our way. Both sides must clearly understand each other. Opening more ports is fundamental and the present is the time to seek for an amicable arrangement. Only China will suffer if the trade continues to be a smuggling trade. Many doubt that Peking will listen to us. We disagree.

The Chinese have a valuable trade with our Indian possessions since it was permitted by the Yung Ching Emperor. All the ports of India are open to them as are Singapore and Penang where Chinese emigrants live in large numbers. They would trade with Europe if they could find the way there. Yet they eschew our vision of a commonwealth of mankind due to their exclusiveness and ignorance.

We demand reciprocity. It is absurd to say the people are not allowed to leave China when an Emperor has sanctioned overseas travel. It is absurd for local officials to say they are ignorant of overseas Chinese communities, particularly when the Imperial tariff contains extra duties on Chinese traders travelling to those places.[246]

Vol 7 No 52 – Tuesday 30th December 1834

We will shortly publish selections from Lungstedt’s History of Macau. He has lived there for forty years and his access to information is unequalled.

Macau is a Portuguese city in China, the emporium of the long-lost Japan trade. Its rise and fall are little known but a resurrection is now readily conceivable.

Vol 7 No 52 – Tuesday 30th December 1834

Everyone agrees that the World was created for our use.[247] This is not just true in Europe and America but everywhere. It is a resource for general use. It follows that nothing ought to be made exclusive property if it can be enjoyed in common. The Chinese government must be wrong to exclude us. Its laws are founded on principles that damage the general rights of mankind.

Still many assert that a country cannot be forced to trade with another except on its own terms. How does this assertion arise? By what right were the North American Indians driven out of their homes by America and Britain? It is the right of the civilised over the barbarous; the right of knowledge to supplant ignorance. It is a law of nature.

If other countries followed the Chinese example were would we all be? Would that result in the best of all possible worlds? To follow the Chinese way is to let men live like animals, perpetually fighting each other. Hobbes ‘Leviathan’ foretells the result if Chinese policy spreads.

Vol 7 No 52 – Tuesday 30th December 1834

Editorial on free trade – anyone acquainted with the foul administration of law here, the insulting arrogance of the Chinese official or the insolent claims of universal domination that are held by the Chinese government, recognises that Chinese pretensions are absurd. An attack by a European country on China must succeed. Free trade cannot be stopped.

As the British government becomes familiar with Chinese pretensions, it will evolve the policies necessary to deal with Chinese exclusiveness. It should say “Grant this, or dare the consequence of refusal. We have injuries to revenge and insults to punish”.

We must have our communications with this government in Chinese, interpreted by our own Linguists. We hope the next Representative will promote the study of Chinese. The only good effect of Napier’s mission was to get Gutzlaff appointed. If we do not have the men, we have to rely on Chinese interpreters who dare not convey our sentiments in clear language.

Vol 7 No 52 – Tuesday 30th December 1834

We have been studying western precedents for war. Lord Collingwood says ‘insults and injustice are not casus belli until reparation has been demanded and refused. A nation must then fight, for it is glorious to be jealous of one’s honour, and it is a national duty to defend the interests of one’s subjects’.

Arch-Deacon Paley says ‘the justifying causes of war are deliberate invasions of right and the need to maintain the status quo so that no one country is strong enough to overwhelm the rest. The object of a just war is precaution, defence or reparation. Generally every war is defensive in as much as it supposes an injury perpetrated, attempted or feared.’

McCulloch’s Dictionary of Commerce says ‘the Chinese government is despotic and its officials corrupt. Despotism causes insult and contempt for foreigners while corruption multiplies the minor vexatious regulations and permits a financial means of evading them.”

The foreigners have submitted to every annoyance but it is questioned whether war is the most politic course. Any stoppage of trade is unmerited. When we remonstrate and are refused, we have grounds for the use of force. A mere demonstration should be adequate. The appearance of a single ship-of-the-line will be more effective than twelve ambassadors. We must only ensure that our cause is just; that it was not our own misconduct that occasioned the annoyances complained of. The Superintendents in China must be empowered to punish any Briton who offends China. We can claim the same rights from China that we claim from America and elsewhere but our claim cannot stand unless we respect the prejudices of the people’.

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

Anders Ljungstedt’s Notice:

If I was still rich I would publish my book about Macau myself but I have lost my fortune. Many years ago I employed the bulk of my wealth in establishing a free school in Sweden for the children of the poor. They are taught reading, writing, history, geography, arithmetic and drawing and have produced many useful members of society.

The last annual report (1833) of this school stated 221 boys were being schooled in the Lancastrian method[248] and a house was in preparation for the education of girls. A hired professor and several masters form the staff. 49 boys graduated in 1833 and had been placed as apprentices in various trades. The costs of this venture have absorbed all the residue of my capital and I now turn to the foreign community at Canton and Macau and to Portuguese philanthropists for their support to publish the current work.

A deposit of $1 secures a copy of the forthcoming book. You can give it to me or J G Ullman who represents me. The money will be deposited with Jardine Matheson & Co which will use the fund to arrange printing and binding in America, probably Boston. The book will be available in about a year so I will be receiving subscriptions all this year until 1st December. When the book is available for delivery the Chronica de Macau and Canton Register will carry advertisements indicating the balances due from subscribers and where to collect a copy. The net proceeds will constitute a permanent fund, the interest from which will be used to buy books and treatises for my school.

Dated at Macau, 20th December 1934

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

A recent case of a ship at the Whampoa anchorage fouling another was intimated to the Superintendents who agreed to adjust the dispute if the circumstances were submitted to them by affidavits of the witnesses.

This turned out to be unnecessary as it had by then been settled between the parties. We mention this solely to illustrate how the Superintendents exercise their authority under present conditions.

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

Extract from McCulloch’s Commercial Dictionary, 2nd edition, page 233:

Some people suppose that Hong merchants are reluctant to become security merchants for foreign ships. This is untrue. No Hong merchant has ever hesitated to secure a ship. The Americans, who in one year had forty ships in port, have never been refused.

The captain of any merchant ship attends the Hong merchant of his choice and, by buying £100-200 provisions, secures that merchant’s services. Individual cargo owners on that ship may trade with any of the other Hong merchants or with outside men. Although there are only ten Hong merchants there is as extensive a choice of trading partner as exists in Liverpool or New York.

Editor – it is shocking to find this misinformation about outside men published in such an authoritative trade guide as McCulloch’s. Only Hong merchants are officially licensed to trade with foreigners. No one else is allowed to do so. This was confirmed in an Edict of 1828 and most recently in November 1834 when it was said “any but Hong merchants who clandestinely enter the barbarian factories, or as shopmen buy from or sell to the barbarians, shall be immediately punished as a Chinese traitor”.

In fact the law is widely ignored but there are three outside men now in prison for ‘traitorous communications’ with us and one, Pow Shing of Old China Street, has been gaoled for months. These imprisoned merchants evidence the government’s ability to apply its penal code.

We are not opposed to McCulloch. In our last issue we quoted his Dictionary as authority for using force in China to attain our ends.

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

Two men from the Eastern Uzbeg city of Kokand have visited Bombay and described their trade. Uzbeg, the first of their horde, was a direct descendant, possibly a grandson, of Jenghiz Khan.

“The Chinese allow us free trade at Kashgar and at the other Muslim cities around the Takla Makan. They permit the entry of our religious missionaries as well. But none of us may enter China proper. In the event of an Embassy we would apply to the Chinese Viceroy at Kashgar and await approval from Peking. Chinese merchants come to Kashgar on the southern route around the Takla Makan. Their caravans are of horses. They mainly bring bricks of tea with some silk, satin and porcelain. One horse can carry 30-40 bricks of tea (NB – Brick tea is unknown in Europe. The popular brand was ‘Chuan Zi’ with the character ‘chuan’ impressed in the brick. It was repacked in factories on the river by the Cheung Yuk Chuen firm and sent off to Russia and Mongolia by caravan). Tea is widely consumed in central Asia and is prepared like the Europeans but with the addition of butter instead of milk. Our merchants cross the Tien Shan mountains to trade at Kashgar. We barter shawls, raw silk, European manufactures and horses for the Chinese goods.

“The Chinese do not allow us to trade with India via the route through Tibet to Kashmir. That is closed to us. Indian produce comes to us via Kabul, Balkh and Bokhara.

“We take all the Kashgar purchases back to Kokand. Some are sold locally but most of the tea together with local raw silk, camlets and cotton yarn is taken to Tashkent where we annually meet with the Bokhara merchants and form a large single caravan through the steppes to Omsk and Orenburg. The returns from this trade are furs, leather, gun barrels, locks, cutlery and other Russian manufactures”.

The Uzbegs also reported on Jahangir Khoja’s rebellion in Chinese Tartary and their information duplicated that of H H Lindsay (previously of Canton and now staying here in Bombay). What they have said seems true. They appear to be straightforward and honest people, more like Europeans than Persians.[249]

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

Letter to the Editor – Your issue of 30th December 1834 was very good. You had a petition of almost all the British traders complaining to their King of wrongs and a prior November Edict of the Manchu Emperor effectively acknowledging those wrongs. No negotiator could ask for a better situation. I did not sign the petition and I expect those who did will regret it. My reasons were:

1/ it was poorly drafted, being too long. People in England will have no time to read it. They will just read the marginal notes.

2/ it is disrespectful in so far as it tells the British King what to do, and

3/ the size of the force requested is too small.

Now our fear of losing the advantage that Napier provided has reduced us Britons to silence. Every encroachment of the Cantonese is allowed and our position is worsening. Our government is not intent on a bi-lateral commercial treaty but wishes for some agreement on behalf of all the World.

Why cannot the Americans or some other trading nation approach the Viceroy, allude to the Emperor’s edict of November, ask to see the genuine tariff and ask him to send another copy to the Hoppo?

Sgd Delta, 1st January 1835[250]

Vol 8 No 1 – Tuesday 6th January 1835

Calcutta Courier, 1st October – The establishment of Carr, Tagore & Co is announced today. Babu Dwarkanath Tagore was the Dewan of the Company’s Salt Board until he joined this firm.

He is the first Hindu to trade on European principles at Calcutta although numerous Parsees have been doing so at Bombay for decades.

Vol 8 No 2 – Tuesday 13th January 1835

A fire has burned part of the Albion Hotel in Macau. It commenced in the house opposite which is occupied by the American Perkins and his family. Perkins discovered at lunchtime that heat from the chimney had set fire to the rafters above his dining room – “We removed a lot of personal possessions but could not save the furniture or our business stock” he said.

Capt Lira, ADC to the Portuguese Governor, quickly arrived with troops and many Europeans also turned out to rescue things from the lower apartments. Several fire engines were brought-up but the wind was too strong and the house burned itself out completely.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

The Union Insurance Society of Canton is established at Canton on 1st January 1835 for marine insurance. Sgd Thomas Dent & Co, Secretaries.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

The Sarah left China on 23rd March and arrived London 20th July 1834. She was the first free trade ship to be licensed for the voyage by the Company’s select committee and brought the first ‘free’ teas to England.[251]

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

A British merchant (Innes) petitioned the Viceroy over a personal affair. His petition was translated to Chinese and passed to How Qua. Later it was returned with a note from How Qua, Mow Qua and Poon Ki Qua saying it was too trivial to put before the Viceroy.

Innes then went with friends to the Tsing Hai Mun (water gate) to petition there and forced an entrance passed the attending soldiers. Then two military officers arrived but refused to accept Innes’ petition unless it was delivered by a Hong merchant. Innes group squatted in the space between the inner and outer gates (i.e. under the wall) and called for provisions. They remained there all afternoon.

Mow Qua Jr and other Hong merchants attended them and made a series of proposals which were all peremptorily refused. Then the military officers returned and said the Emperor had forbidden officials to receive foreign petitions unless from the Hongs. They were disbelieved, requested to produce the Edict and explain why it had not previously been published.

It was finally agreed that the petition be delivered to one military officer and Mow Qua Jr jointly. As it was being handed over, Mow Qua snatched it away but was instantly surrounded by Englishmen and ‘obliged’ to return it. At 6 pm the English party left, leaving Innes with food and clothing to remain between the gates overnight. At 9 pm the military officers returned and agreed to receive the petition on the instructions of the Viceroy but Innes then said he distrusted them and could only deliver it in front of European witnesses. He prepared a note to two countrymen but before the messenger left, some other Europeans arrived outside the gate. This group contained two English ship’s captains in whose presence the petition was delivered.

Mow Qua Jr, who was attending the military officer, again attempted to get his hands on the petition and had to be warned off. The officers said the Viceroy was quite busy but would attend to the matter in the next 2-3 days. 6 Hong merchants, 2 linguists and a military guard were present throughout the entire proceedings. Innes later received a reply promising redress.

In this way a resolute Englishman has regained an important old privilege which How Qua tried to deny him.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

Editorial – A recent Chinese Edict (requiring reinforcement of the defences) reveals the government is alert to the consequences of Napier’s visit. Now, in the matter of Innes’ petition, the Hong merchants are again found guilty. We admit their position is difficult but if their own government ascribes every disturbance to their impositions, it should know it is time to change the system. How can it rely on a small group of men whom it calls traitors? Even if this is merely the local government choosing not to blame itself and, on reviewing to whom it can transfer blame, focusing on the Hongs, it still shows they are ashamed of the system they have established. They do not have justice on their side. This latest Edict is important and should never be forgotten in our future discussions:

Chinese who make contact with foreigners are called traitors. The Hong merchants are licensed by government to deal with us but are still called traitors. If it is culpable to contact foreigners, the foreign trade should be stopped. This government sanctions the trade and takes duties from it but discriminates against the people involved. For it to speak of traitors is mere cant.

We believe free trade and strict monopoly cannot co-exist. The former is young and irresistible; the latter decrepid and tottering. We have no doubt of the outcome.

The Hong merchants should immediately review their situation, identify what is wrong and resolutely effect remedial action.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

From a correspondent:

We ascribe China’s trade policy to the Confucian education its officials receive. In Confucius’ time there were so few manufactures and so little trade that he seldom mentions it. Now it has become the basis to our common wealth. Mencius knew more about it but he does not philosophise on the subject. A Chinese today who studies the ancients becomes qualified for high office believing agriculture alone can improve the community.[252]

He is taught that commerce is mere transfer of goods for profit, injuring one to benefit another. Su Tung Po was a great Chinese. He had a penetrating mind and understood the art of government. Any politician today would feel comfortable with the principles of good government which Su identified, yet he loathed trade.

In the Sung dynasty the Chuan Chow men operated an extensive trade with Korea. The Sung emperors resented the expense they incurred when responding to tribute missions but the Koreans were threatened by the Khitans (then ruling Liao Tung) and sent some priests in a Chuan Chow junk with a golden model of a temple as tribute, hoping to be invited to send an embassy. Su Tung Po was put in charge of this matter and he advised the Emperor that international trade was injurious and asked for it to be stopped. The foreign trade of that dynasty was confined to the environs of Chuan Chow and Hang Chow and was flourishing. Su confessed he could not prevent trade as too many traitorous natives were determined to continue it. The Court seems to have recognised the impolicy of defying the people and did nothing.

Su Tung Po’s hatred of commerce seems due to the profiteering of rice merchants during a terrible famine in Chekiang. The government sold grain cheaply but the traders insisted on the market price. Many people starved. He attributed their deaths to the actions of the merchants who thought money more important than life. Today many Chinese agree with him.

We now know that giving free reign to commerce benefits a country. We must keep this knowledge in front of the Chinese in the coming negotiations and convince them of their error. It may be too early now to introduce China to Adam Smith but the time will come.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

John Davis, Chief Superintendent of Trade, and his family have left China on the Asia for London. After Staunton he was the first Company officer to study Chinese and has since made it his life’s work. He was the first to produce a Chinese play in English dress. His writings have been widely published.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

Chinese Repository, December 1834 – God guaranteed that man would have dominion over the World. We may not shrink from the duties falling to us from God, but in exercising those duties – social, religious and political – we must keep the interests of the entire human race before us.

It is our belief that this duty involves obligations between nation states and that China is in violation of her duty ‘to love thy neighbour as thyself’. It is incumbent on us to remonstrate with China and if we cannot persuade her we must compel her to a course consistent with her obligations.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

Thoughts on Republican Dollars (i.e. those minted by the new South American Republics):

These coins are of equal value to the Spanish dollar but have not been welcomed by the Chinese merchants apparently because they are new. There is now a European proposal to introduce them into the Canton system. The Chinese last considered this sort of question in 1825 and we append the Edict from that year on the subject:

“Tse the Hoppo to the Hong merchants 4th May 1825 – Cushing petitions that he brings dollars in his ships. Some are Kau Cheen (old money, on which a discount applies) and others are Fan Meen or Kwai Meen (foreign face money). The Kau Cheen attracts a charge of 4-5 candareeens discounted value in trade.

Cushing wishes for an order that specimens of both types be collected and assayed. If we find they have the same silver value, he wants an Edict to the trading community confirming the fact.

“We have examined 14 Kau Cheen and 14 Fan Meen and discovered the Kau Cheen contains over 2 cash less silver than the Fan Meen. It will be traded at Canton at a 2 cash discount in future.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

Foreign Relations of China – Asia is not a continent where the rulers are concerned for the balance of power or wage war to preserve it. Fighting in Asia is for self-preservation or conquest. That is why they have faith in alliances.

China has achieved her natural boundaries. Her attempts to overstep them brought injury to her. She now hesitates to seek help from her neighbours as when central Asian tribes were called in previously they hindered rather than helped.[253] As the Chinese derive little benefit from foreign states, they keep them at arm’s length. The Ching dynasty, which profited by a deviation from this principle, is now the staunchest advocate of it. China will not relinquish this policy unless we can draw her into the political system of Europe.

The distrust of foreign relations and the want of alliances has often brought China to the brink of ruin. Her closest ally is Korea which King sends tribute three times a year. The succession to the throne and the marriage of the Korean Kings is confirmed in Peking. This vassalage is due to Korean fear of Manchuria and China. The cost of the embassies to Korea is more than repaid by the trade which the ambassadors do. But both countries guard their common frontier and none pass unnoticed. It is only at the frontier town of Tung Huang (Tonghua) that Chinese, Manchus and Koreans mingle for trade at the annual fair. This trade is statutorily limited in quantity and much smuggling occurs. Formerly the Chinese went into Korea for trade but the Koreans could not compete and found the Chinese traders were impoverishing their country. Now they just have this annual trade fair on the frontier like the Russian trade.

Japan received its literature and civilisation from China but the two countries now have little communication. Once they were friends based on a shared literature and religion but then the Mongol Yuan dynasty tried to occupy Japan and their failure aroused Japanese contempt. Since then Wako pirates have preyed along the Chinese coast. The Japanese invasion of Korea in 16th century concerned the Ming. These extraordinary circumstances made the Chinese send ambassadors to Japan. Since then there has been limited commercial relations but the Chinese in Japan are as restricted as we are in Canton. These Chinese are Imperial merchants and the Chinese government directly handles most of the trade but they are subjected to great indignities.

China’s interest in Tibet is to influence the Lamas who have many adherents amongst the Mongol tribes of central Asia. As long as China is allied with the Dalai Lama and the Bonchin Erdeni and their dependents, the Emperor is as strong as the French King when the Pope lived at Avignon. Should these priests stir their votaries to revolt they could become a formidable enemy. Thus China tames the haughty priesthood with gifts. I expect the Nepalese and Bhutanese will share Tibet’s fate.

The frontier between Cochin China and China is marked at the passes by brass pillars. The two countries fought continually until this boundary was agreed and still remain distrustful of each other. Cochin China is a Chinese tributary but has not given sincere proof of its loyalty. The King sends tribute but is an implacable though weak enemy. The two countries are not friends but China sends many junks to trade. Few Cochin China junks enter China because the country is too poor to afford to send them.

Thailand is a Chinese vassal out of self-interest. It sends an annual embassy and tribute but the ambassador is a low ranking man who willingly prostrates himself and has nothing to say. The Thais make do with the fact that embassies are not taxed and any goods thus enter China duty-free. Trade between China and Thailand is prosperous. The Chinese value it highly.

Burma does not acknowledge Chinese hegemony. It has defeated and ejected two Chinese armies but ambassadors pass and the Chinese characterise them as tribute missions. There is a little trade but the officials interfere in it.

Russia has never been friendly to China but both countries want peace. The Mongolian steppe which separates the countries should be an insurmountable obstacle. The Chinese have no interest in the icy wastes of Siberia. The Russians have no interest in damaging the trade. But the N W Frontier of China is accessible and, if the nomadic tribes can be subdued, Russia could be dangerous. There are frequent feuds along the frontier and Russia, for one, does not consider them trivial. Now that China is being progressively exposed as weak and defenceless, the possibility of hostilities increases.[254]

The maritime trade of Europe is well known to our readers. China wishes to limit and control this trade but notwithstanding the restraints it continues to grow. Every Chinese official recognises that the coast is the most vulnerable frontier. We have identified all the ports. Chinese officials will have to treat us properly to avoid a clash.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

From a correspondent – It is time the British government interfered to rescue our relations with China. Some say a commercial treaty will solve our trade problems. We disagree. Free trade is just starting and our diplomats are inexperienced in its practical requirements. The Chinese government is unprepared to make an agreement. Any agreement will be reciprocally binding and a bad treaty would be worse than none at all.

The General Instructions to British Consuls requires them to ‘note prohibitions of the state in which they reside on exports and imports … and to caution British subjects against carrying on illicit commerce’. A commercial treaty would accordingly require our Consuls to oppose the opium trade, oppose the export of sycee silver or other metals and oppose the contraband trade on the east coast. They will have to oppose hiring natives to teach Chinese language and many other things. Even the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge must be denounced.

It is better to wait for the Chinese to themselves recognise their inability to suppress our contraband trade and then negotiate a reciprocal commercial agreement. Any attempt to change Chinese distrust of innovation or their national pride or jealous timidity will fail. We just want an explicit declaration of their law and a strict obedience to it by their officials together with a toleration of our harmless liberty and enjoyment. The law for foreigners is not as intolerable as the officials make it. The legal Imperial duty is very moderate if we can deter officials from augmenting it.

Our greatest complaint is the denial of access to legal redress of grievances. If we had access, with a right of appeal to the Emperor, and a representative in Peking to oversee the process, we would be satisfied for now. Other improvements are desirable but time, rather than force, might allow then to be offered. During this period our diplomats will be finding their way, learning to understand the Chinese mind and improving their negotiating ability (a field in which we have hitherto uniformly failed). Free trade will force itself into every province until the Chinese recognise they cannot keep it out. Then they will freely concede what would today cost much treasure and blood to obtain.

Vol 8 No 3 – Tuesday 20th January 1835

A subscription has been opened to establish a Seamens’ Hospital in Canton. The Parsees have been generous donors.

Vol 8 No 4 – Tuesday 27th January 1835

George Best Robinson is appointed Chief Superintendent on 19th January 1835 on the resignation of John Davis. Astell becomes 2nd and Elliot 3rd superintendent. A R Johnstone is appointed Secretary and Treasurer.

Editor – Sir George is well known to hold liberal views. He is more open to the benefits of the new system than his predecessors. He accompanied the British free-traders to Napier’s funeral.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

The great Church of St Pauls in Macau was destroyed on 26th January by fire which originated in the guard house occupied by the soldiers. The church was built by Jesuits in 1602.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

The new Hoppo’s family with 200 Manchurian retainers has arrived from Peking. He must know all about the possibilities of his new job to have brought so many people with him.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

Captain Broughton lost his ship Providence on a reef at Tai Ping Shan on 17th May 1757 and came up to Canton in the tender, an 87 ton schooner (Tai Ping Shan is the largest of the Spratly Islands). Here is an edited extract from his diary:

“Abreast of Lintin I sent a boat to Macau for provisions. After receipt, I approached the Bocca Tigris and found 13 East Indiamen at anchor which officers gave us advice and help. I continued up to Whampoa arriving next morning. I took the pinnace to Canton and interviewed Hall, the British Chief. I arranged for provisions and for the division of my crew amongst the East Indiamen. On 6th June a Hong merchant asked me where I was from and I told him. I asked him for provisions from the government. The next day I left for Whampoa where an official came on board saying the information from Canton was confused and he had come to check it but I could not wait as I wanted to sail to Macau as soon as I had got provisions from the Indiamen.”

Editor – it seems the difficulties we face in China today are quite new.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

The first ‘free’ teas (shipped by Hamburg merchants from Danzig (Gdansk) to comply with British legal requirements the teas come from East of the Cape) have been offered for sale at the commercial sale rooms in Mincing Lane. They were imported on the Perseverance, Columbine and Snaresbrook. Their sale is for export to colonial markets and British dependencies as they did not come direct from China.

The consignment comprises mostly congou with some bohea and various other types. They are all said to be inferior quality which is expected to characterise the future tea supply under ‘free trade’ rules. The auction was a failure and most items were bought-in.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

The new British tea duties are to be on a sliding instead of a fixed scale. According to the City Newspaper, this ‘will open the door to a system of fraud which even the tea trade has hitherto never known or contemplated; and we are confident that the appointment of tea inspectors will be a source of nepotism rather than protection of the revenue’.[255]

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

Mr T R Colledge, surgeon to the late Lord Napier, established an eye hospital in Macau between 1827 and 1832 where he treated over four thousand Chinese. At the start he was concurrently 2nd surgeon to the Company’s factory.

He paid all the expenses from his own pocket for the first year but was assisted by subscriptions from the foreign residents subsequently and received $6,852 over the next five years. During the last three years the hospital has been funded by Rev Vachell’s donation of communion offerings, by liberal donations from both Parsee and Hong merchants and by provision of free medicines by the Company.

When Mr Pearson, the senior surgeon, left Macau in January 1833 the hospital was closed. Pearson was the man who introduced our form of vaccination to the Chinese. Three letters of thanks from Pearson’s former patients, Ho Kung Lin and Keung Sai Yung of Shuntak and Chai Yeh of Mong Ha village, are reproduced.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

Kiakhta (Cakurtu – Mai Mai Chun in Cantonese) 6th July:

A new official named Ching Lau Yay has arrived from Peking to replace Foo Sang Ha who has been acting commandant of this trading post. A salute of nine guns heralded the entrance of the official Imperial seal, contained in a casket and carried by a secretary and servants. It was placed on a table in the yamen amongst other judicial appendages.

Two wax candles and a bundle of joss sticks were lit before it. Then Ching made three bows and nine prostrations to the seal. He arose, seated himself at the table, took-up the seal and impressed his first document with it. This document announced his entry to office. Ching holds the rank denoted by a crystal button.

Vol 8 No 5 – Tuesday 3rd February 1835

Capt MacDonald of the Argyle crossed from Luzon, encountered heavy weather and made land at St John’s (San Chuan, 30 miles west of Macau) where he anchored. He sent his 2nd Officer and 11 men ashore in the cutter to seek for a pilot. Three hours later a pilot came on board and said the twelve men had been detained.

MacDonald came on to Macau and reported. Elliot and Gutzlaff accompanied him to the Chuk Lan (bamboo trellis) Gate of Canton on 1st February to submit an open letter detailing the affair. After entering the gate they were stopped by some officers and Elliot was struck on the head twice while an attempt to take his sword was also made. They were all bundled out of the city. They waited three hours but no-one came to receive the letter. They then retired to the river where they found their boat had been set adrift. They had to hire a sampan to return.

Apparently when Elliot was seen in uniform at the gate, the Chinese immediately commenced enquiries in the factories. Linguists hurried from factory to factory trying to identify him for How Qua’s information. Then the jolly boat was discovered with Elliot’s cocked hat in it. Several British traders then hurried to the gate to assist but found no foreigners there. It was a mystery until MacDonald arrived at the factories at 2 pm and explained. A boat is being sent to St John’s to recover the missing men.

Elliot ignored the community at the factories and put himself at risk in Canton. The Chinese will be further emboldened by this to treat British authorities with contempt. He has damaged all of us. The merchants themselves have often obtained redress by petitioning at the city gate. If Elliot had worked with us he would have done better, like Innes did recently. But really we do not want British officials presenting addresses at the city gate. It is humiliating until ample assurance for dignified treatment can be received.

Vol 10 No 11 – 14th March 1837

The Penny Magazine of August 1836 has an interesting review of Mr Hudson’s stay in China in early 1835 (referring to the incident in the preceding article):

I left the Argyle in the first cutter to go ashore and get a pilot. My crew were two pilots, an Englishman and a Manilaman, and nine Lascars. I landed and, with one pilot and one Lascar, walked up to a hut about a mile from the shore but no-one understood us. I returned to the boat to find 30-40 Chinese making off with the masts, sails, oars and other removable things. The Lascars just let them take what they wanted. The tide had ebbed and the boat was completely beached. Then I found the planking had been stoved-in and she could not have floated. I signalled the ship, which was 2 miles off, but they did not see us.

The crowd around us had swelled to about 150 villagers. They pressed up against us and eventually took all our possessions and some of the clothes we wore. The coastal people of China are a hardy independent breed who are little influenced by government control. We retreated into the shallow water and made our way along to some rocks where we stayed until sunset but no help came. Before dusk we had seen a respectably-dressed man on the hilltop waving to us. I went up to him as soon as it was safe to do so and he seemed friendly. He beckoned us to follow him. All the villagers remained pressed around us, some carrying hooks and staves, and I did not want to give them an excuse for violence. The man led us to a large village, of which he seemed to be the headman, where even more people came to look at us. The houses were generally 15-20 feet high with the first four feet of the walls built of stone and well-shaped red brick above with tiled roof. The interior of each house was in two parts. It seemed that one room was for the women and one for the men.

Then he took us to his own house. He gave us water to wash ourselves and rice and sweet potato to eat. We were put in an outhouse where all the agricultural equipment was stored. They gave us rice wine which was not very drinkable and then tea. Although it was cold we slept well. We were locked in for the first days but not subsequently.

Next morning I ascended the nearest hill but could see no sign of the ship. I returned to a good breakfast and the headman brought me a telescope. He himself did not appear to recognise its purpose and he repeatedly looked through the wrong end. I borrowed this and returned to the hill top. I could see a village in every valley but no ship. I went back to the village when a man reported sighting a ship. He took me to a viewpoint and pointed her out. I could see it was the Argyle. I returned to the beach and hoisted a signal. I stayed there all day but got no response from the ship. All the time we were surrounded by villagers who were fascinated by us. They spoke excitedly to each other, laughed a good deal, and examined our skin, hair and clothes minutely.

Next morning some strong athletic men came to the village to try their strength against ours. We had some wrestling bouts. Our pilot, who is quite short, made up for his height deficiency in wrestling prowess. I climbed the hills again and discovered we were on an island. When I returned our host was dressed and motioned for me to go away with him. We walked 3 miles to a town full of shops selling porcelain, teas and many other things. I asked the name of the place and they said Mai Mee.

In one shop the people brought out a 20 lbs canister of European white lead. They appeared familiar with its use. They also had a complete and detached western water closet but were appeared unsure of its purpose. I was not able to remain long as the shop quickly filled with curious villagers. They took me to an upper room where the wealthier villagers were charged money to inspect me. One of the first visitors was the son of a local official who appeared concerned that my clothes had been stolen. I showed them our style of writing. They wanted to see me walk and they continually felt my clothes and skin. After two hours I tried to go downstairs but the shop was packed and I could make no progress. We eventually pushed our way out of the town and returned to the village.

After 10-12 days, during which we were exhibited two more times, the curiosity of the people was sated and an order arrived that we should be sent to Canton. Before leaving, the host gave a feast in honour of his son’s wedding to which we were invited. No females were present and the men mainly let-off firecrackers and burned gilt paper.

We left on 4th February for the large city of Yong Kong. First we arrived at a large town where the people again encircled and jostled us. Our host provided a sedan chair for me. It was similar to the English chairs but made of bamboo. The carrying poles were attached at the top and curved inwards so the ends fell naturally on the bearer’s shoulders. In this fashion we passed along narrow footpaths through a plain full of well-tended vegetable fields for 16 miles, with the pilot and the Lascars walking behind. We then boarded a flat-bottomed boat down a stream to a fine river where Yong Kong is sited.

We were taken to the magistrate’s yamen and were interviewed by him after waiting two hours. On entering his room an attendant gave me a sharp blow and tried to press me to the ground. The official said something to him and he desisted. An interpreter explained our story to him. He asked if we had arms and on learning we had none he said he would send us to Canton. We were then taken to another house, given rice and sweet potato to eat and straw for bedding.

Next morning the interpreter took me and the pilots to watch some 200 soldiers exercising. They were armed with light matchlocks but the match itself was twisted around the butt and would likely only work a few times before falling to pieces. The officers rode small ponies. The soldiers wore the same clothes as the civil population – loose trousers under blue nankeen frocks with a cloth cap, well-fitting the head and turned up all around. The exercises were concluded shortly after our arrival and the soldiers, after dismissal, came over and examined us until their officer called them off. Then the townspeople encircled us and pulled us about. We ran off up a nearby hill and threw stones at them to keep them away but they circled round behind us and we fled to the town but were not allowed to enter. We returned to the house and the master asked me to write something. I put the alphabet on a large piece of paper and added my name, date and the name of my ship. He put it in a gilt frame and hung it on the wall! When on the hill I had seen the town wall was some three miles long. The walls were 25 feet high but in dilapidated condition. There were four gates with a cannon at each, approximately 24 pounders but unmounted. The houses were the same as at Mai Mee.

That evening we took a boat under a new guard and sailed all night. Next morning we alighted and continued on foot. We walked about 30 miles with only sweet potatoes, pilfered from roadside fields, for sustenance. The houses in all the towns and villages we passed were of stone and brick and well maintained. The Chinese domestic and agricultural utensils were remarkably similar to the ones employed in England but the plough was smaller and one man could carry it. We very seldom saw wheeled vehicles, only 3-4 barrows and 2 carts drawn by buffalo with solid wooden wheels about 3’ diameter and 4-5” thick. The wheel rims were shaped to become 2” at the circumference and they cut into the road to a considerable depth. On arrival at Canton we were released after paying the costs of transport.

Vol 8 No 6 – Tuesday 10th February 1835

Editorial – We are supposed to conform to old regulation and have the Hong merchants pay our duties for us but the old regulations prevent any improvement in our lot. We should overlook them and find some other venerable regulation to replace them with. We must have a regular tariff published. It is supposed to be a legal requirement that the tariff be published in every Customs House to prevent extortion. Once we can discover what the duties are we would happily pay them but the Hong merchants kindly perform this job for us. Perhaps the new Hoppo, who has come direct from the bosom of the compassionate Emperor, will give us a copy?

Excessive duties diminish trade and increase smuggling. Would there be so many ships at Lintin if the duties were reasonable? We should change the system to benefit ourselves and the Emperor (whose revenue will be increased thereby). At present the greatest loser is the Imperial Treasury. Government should represent the majority. The purpose of duty is revenue for the nation not the continued existence of a few Hong merchants. If the Hoppo and his group got proper salaries they might be relieved of temptation. Every government can set its own tariff but no government has a right to require fraud and extortion in its collection. People may feel bored with our continual discussion of this point, which we are unable to redress, but at least by reiterating the complaint, those who hold that we should abide by the law may be informed of the absurdity of their position.

Vol 8 No 7 – 17th February 1835

Editorial – One of the Argyle’s boats and its crew have been missing for 16 days. (see the two articles above) They might be detained in China. Elliot (in his captain’s uniform) and the Argyle captain attended at the city gate with Gutzlaff to remonstrate but were ridiculed. The Governor has disavowed communication with us and their letter was rejected as it was not a petition.

When Capt Fremantle delivered Bentinck’s letter for the Viceroy in 1831, his arrival was pre-advised. That courtesy did not occur on this occasion. When dealing with China we should recall Nelson’s words “this is not the time to be informal”. In our present defenceless state we should be ever cautious in our appeals to the Canton government. Many people say the Chinese are wise to ignore us. They feel a bar to foreign influence is the paramount duty of the Chinese government.

We disagree. Unreasonable acts are unwise. China has consistently followed this path. Our embassies were sent away without being allowed to inculcate an understanding of any of the points in dispute. Our applications to Canton were the same. Whoever comes is told to ‘correspond through the Hongs, conform to ancient law, be quiet and depart. If you try to make innovations we will stop your trade.’ Even if a representative backed by force came with access to Chinese ministers, he would still be told the same, although more politely. He will be asked ‘you come here for trade, why do you raise political questions?’ He will say ‘to establish trade on a firm footing free of institutionalised corruption’ and get the answer ‘the benevolence of the Emperor and care of his provincial officials guarantees the safe continuance of trade.’ Much additional talk may occur but no further progress can be made. The Chinese have consistently held this position and consistently bested us. It is extraordinary that we continue to abide it.

We try to make trade grow uninterruptedly during peace time. The Chinese will not concede and say ‘let things be’ and ‘conform to the law’. This gives us no alternative but to get what we want by other methods. By this we mean bringing the Chinese government to such a dilemma that it unilaterally volunteers the sort of proposals we wish to make.

Vol 8 No 7 – 17th February 1835

James Matheson is empowered by the Superintendents to convene a meeting on 23rd February 1835 at the British Hotel, Imperial Hong to consider the institution of a British Hospital at Whampoa for the treatment of His Majesty’s subjects. Anyone subscribing £3 p a or £20 in toto for the hospital may attend the meeting and vote. The British people (through the Superintendents) will duplicate the sum raised by subscriptions. Sgd A R Johnstone, Sec’y

Legal authority for Johnstone’s payment is contained in Cap 87, ‘An Act to Regulate … Certain Public Purposes.’ It deals with the establishment of churches, hospitals and cemeteries abroad.

Vol 8 No 7 – 17th February 1835

Letter to the Editor – A fire occurred in the Travessa de Se at Macau, opposite the Albion Hotel, and a house was destroyed. Fire-fighting was most efficiently done by officers of the Tso Tong, who attended in person. They worked the fire engine effectively.

The recent fire at St Paul’s church destroyed a clock which had been donated to the Jesuits by Louis XIV. Sgd Delta

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

Notice, 20th February – Henry Wright, Andrew Johnstone and Alexander Matheson are admitted to the Jardine Matheson partnership today.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

The Union Insurance Society of Canton, established 1st January 1835 for marine insurance has commenced business.

Sgd Thomas Dent & Co, 10th January 1835.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

James Matheson has been appointed Danish Consul to China.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

Notice – Some British masters are abandoning crew members in China. This is illegal and can be prosecuted as if it occurred in England. The Superintendents will prosecute offending masters in future.

Sgd A R Johnston, Secretary.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

Editorial on War with China:

It is the duty of every government to protect its subjects and maintain its honour in foreign countries. Our national representative has been dishonoured. We should also mention the entrance of the two frigates which were fired upon and returned fire. They came up to Whampoa to protect our trade. It is because trade is so uncertain that Napier and the frigates came. Nevertheless, conditions are not yet so bad as to call for war.

China’s trade system does not work. If they cut off trade it is like a declaration of war. China’s antiquity does not justify its overbearing pride or shield it from the natural consequences of its acts. War cannot be our object for we come here solely to trade. If trade is preserved we are happy but we must impress China with our power so the Emperor abandons the belief that we are unequal to him.

Once equality is conceded our complaints will fall away. The essential thing is to bring the Chinese to the position that they themselves have to initiate the remedial negotiations. If we act on this principle we will all benefit.[256]

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

Recently the Emperor announced in an Edict his suspicion that foreign disturbances at Canton were due to extortions of the Hong merchants. The Chinese Repository commented:

“During the last disturbance it was repeatedly said by Governor Loo and his officials that revenue from foreign trade was inconsequential. Now the Emperor says ‘the duties paid into the Customs House Treasury affect the revenue of the nation’ and ‘how can it be suffered that the least fraction of debt should be incurred.’ He quantified the Hong debts (for revenue collected but not paid) at over 1,300,000 taels. Two Hongs owe 420,000 and 310,000 taels respectively. He ordered them both degraded and demands the whole sum be paid in three months.

“The Emperor continues ‘the trade of outside barbarians with this inner land is owing to the compassion of the Celestial Empire. If all the duties that are required to be paid, can indeed be levied according to a fixed tariff, then the said barbarians will pay them gladly and will remain tranquil.’

“It follows that in the absence of a fixed tariff and the fact that duties are not levied in accordance with it, the barbarians will not pay gladly and will not be tranquil. Everyone agrees there is no fixed tariff under the present system. The Commercial Guide notes the impossibility of obtaining a fixed tariff ‘one of the most prominent evils in the commercial system at Canton – it being the policy of the government, Hong merchants and Linguists to keep foreigners ignorant of the mode and rate of duties levied on foreign trade. In most instances the charges we pay are quadruple the Imperial tariff and on cotton they are increased tenfold.’”

Readers are referred to the Guide for further details. The Chinese Repository also mentions the Consoo charge, for the use of the Co-Hong – ‘an object of mystery even to those who contribute to it, none of whom excepting 2-3 seniors having seen its accounts. Such a fund is liable to misappropriation and no remedy will be found under the Co-Hong system.’ We understand the Consoo Fund is required to make the following annual payments:

Tribute to the Emperor
Yellow River repairs
Expenses of Hong’s Agent at Peking
Emperor’s birthday presents
Hoppo’s birthday presents
Presents to Hoppo’s mother & wife
Presents to other officers
Compulsory purchase of Imperial ginseng
55,000 taels
456,600 taels

Some of these charges are paid by individual Hongs out of arrears to the Consoo Fund. The Hongs are also liable to other fees. In 1832 they paid 100,000 taels for quelling the Leen Chow insurrection. In 1834 they paid 120,000 taels in compulsory contributions for flood relief. We mention these impositions merely to indicate the Hongs pay something whenever requested to do so knowing they can tax it off our profits.

Editor – This state of affairs is inconsistent with the honour of Britain. A coalition of England with France and America may be practicable but, if necessary, England can settle the problem alone.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

A Chinese official in Macau has been reading the foreign newspapers and believes there will be a war between England and China later this year. He has reported his belief to the Kwangtung Governor.

Vol 8 No 8 – Tuesday 25th February 1835

Ah Ming and the other ‘outside men’ who have been imprisoned for trading on behalf of Hongs with foreigners are shortly expected to be released, they having agreed the price of their freedom with the officials.

Vol 8 No 9 – Tuesday 3rd March 1835

Remington & Co of Bombay announce that Henry Fawcett and Thomas Wingate Henderson ave been admitted as partners on 6th December 1834

Vol 8 No 9 – Tuesday 3rd March 1835

James Matheson, who established the Canton Register in 1827, has left China on the Orwell. He says he will soon return. The Canton Register has expressed the opinions of freemen. It provides a record of events; of the written opinions of the Emperor, and of the local government at Canton, which might otherwise have been buried in the dusty archives of East India House. Our Register will hereafter be quoted as history.

Vol 8 No 9 – Tuesday 3rd March 1835

A one page digest on the Admiralty Jurisdiction that Britain asserts over its colonies, factories and other overseas settlements, is reproduced in English from Wyndham Beuwes‘ Lex Mercatoria Rediviva’ Not reproduced here[257]

Vol 8 No 9 – Tuesday 3rd March 1835

An early intimation of the contest between Jardines and Dents is contained in the Bengal Hurkaru, the most prestigious newspaper in British India. In our recent confrontation with China it has supported the position taken by this paper, with the exception of printing an anonymous letter on 16th December (from Dent’s group). The Hurkaru Editor was encouraged to examine the merits of Dent’s contrary view. He says:

The letter writer says ‘the Canton Register represents the minority view of part of the Canton community’. We disagree. The recent petition of British merchants to the English King recited our published views seriatim and was signed by 90+ men. The Canton Almanac lists 45 British merchants resident in China (the people who bring on the first Opium War). The petition contained 35 of their names. Even the assumption than the ten non-signers opposed the petition is not established.

Lord Napier is said by the letter writer to have ‘surrendered himself to the Jardine faction’. This is also false. Napier was alert to intrigue in our community and feared it. He accordingly eschewed all groups here and kept his own counsel. When the Hongs called us to a meeting in the Consoo House, Jardine wanted us all to attend but desisted on Napier’s appeal to us not to go.

The letter writer says ‘Jardine answered, unauthorisedly but purportedly, on behalf of the whole British community, an official letter from the Hongs and thereby caused the stoppage of trade, which fact this newspaper concealed’. This allegation can be evaluated by considering the original correspondence. Jardine received the four Edicts of the Viceroy from the Hongs on Monday evening. They were translated for him by Tuesday and he circulated them Wednesday (13th August) with a covering letter saying Napier told him he would not formally receive them from us as he had previously declined them from the Hongs direct (there was some delay in providing the translations to Napier, and probably Napier’s checking of them, before the community were advised).

Jardine circulated the merchants suggesting that Morrison reply in Chinese saying we have offered the Edicts to Napier but he refused them. This circular was returned with a variety of views appended by other merchants and Jardine compiled and submitted the response later the same day, but Dent’s group had not by then returned their copy and views. This is the next complaint. ‘Without giving the community sufficient time to consider the matter, Jardine replied to the Hongs in his own name and without our authority. This is treason’.

Jardine took the Edicts as soon as practicable to Napier to receive his instructions. There can be no question of treason. The issue was simply whether Napier would receive the Edicts or not. What they contained was irrelevant until that primary matter had been settled.

Vol 8 No 10 – Tuesday 10th March 1835

A British representative in China should be empowered with coercive authority over his nationals here. We must be regulated by some law. As Chinese law is not available to us we can adopt British law. The Superintendents are at Macau, out of their jurisdiction, and none need attend to them. If we are lawless, how can our constituents trust us? Only the smuggling trade can be conducted without law. On the other hand, we often recite an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.

McCulloch’s Dictionary offers a solution. Under the 1818 Treaty between Sweden and USA, the consuls of each country act as judges in settling the disputes of the crews of their country’s ships. The guest country has no right of intervention unless its public order is disturbed by the disputants or unless the foreign Consul himself calls for assistance.

There is also the better known example of several European countries’ arrangements with Turkey.[258]

Vol 8 No 10 – Tuesday 10th March 1835

Letter to the Editor – The nature and extent of the Superintendents’ authority is questionable. If we disobeyed them, how will they enforce obedience? In Macau their orders bear no weight and the Chinese would not give them respect either. How can the English King seize jurisdiction over his nationals abroad? Could he do so in France or America? If He has no such power in the West, why should he assume it in the East?

The Company claimed a power of deportation under Law (53rd George III) but they could only exercise it in India, never here. They ruled India but were supplicants in China.

The only country that has allowed any foreign legal jurisdiction on its soil is Turkey which authorised the old Levant Company under a mutually agreed treaty.

Sgd Viator.

Vol 8 No 10 – Tuesday 10th March 1835

The late M. Galbert said ‘the Co-Hong was established by the Viceroy in 1759. Representations were then made to the Emperor, who, after several clarifications, authorised it in 1762’.

Whatever the authority under which it was established, Galbert says ‘it was certainly operating in 1759 when I was in Canton.’

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

Mr John Watson is admitted a partner in James Goddard & Co of Canton effective 1st April 1835.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835


  • For sale aboard the barque Lintin at Lintin – Russian and English canvas, hemp and Manila rope, beef, bread, flour and other stores.
  • Captain Parry of the Hercules has for sale at Lintin – chains, anchors, nails, cordage, copper sheathing, sheathing nails, canvas, boat guns.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

We occasionally quote from one or other of the Peking Gazettes. They are actually called King Po (News from the Capital).

The Emperor’s Privy Council meets daily early each morning and an ample extract of yesterday’s proceedings are published in a courtyard of the palace. From these are produced the government annals (each public office in Peking must make copies of these daily publications and preserve them in archives).

The publications are sent to each province by post messenger but, to ensure the people have some idea of government actions, the published reports are printed in their entirety in the King Po. Thus everything presented to the Emperor for his consideration is recorded in these newspapers. Subscription is 1 tael per year. Peking residents get a copy of King Po delivered daily but in other cities and provinces they only get it on opportunity. It can be delivered very late in some places.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

The Petersburg Journal of 24th March 1831 recites the contents of a letter from one of the priests at the Russian church in Peking dated 14th December 1830

“We arrived in Peking 30th November and met Voichekhovsky, the doctor and college assessor. He has obtained the confidence of the Chinese by curing an official who, out of gratitude, built a monument to him in the courtyard of our dormitory building. We went with the students Leontevsky and Voznesensky to the Russian cemetery outside the gates of Peking. We travelled in procession, the priests in carriages, the laity on horseback, all following a mounted officer and ten Cossack cavalry. Many Chinese followed us as far as the Russian dormitory which is a beautiful simple building. We met Peter, the Orthodox Christian church leader at the dormitory.

“The Chinese were very kind during our journey and gave us a fine reception at Kalgan. The Russian name is highly considered in China.”

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

The new government of Macau was installed on 24th February, 1835.

It comprises Jose Baptista de Miranda e Lima as President; Antonio Vicente Cortella as Procurador Fiscal; and Joao Damascenas Coelho dos Santos, Jose Vicente Jorge and Floriano Antonio Rangel as members of the Leal Senado.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

Tea – M Klaproth and other missionaries have elucidated the history and use of tea. It seems to have originated in the Tsin dynasty (265 – 419 AD) with Wang Mung, a public works official who drank it regularly and gave it to his guests from whom the custom was spread.

The Wan Ti Emperor in the 590’s used tea to successfully treat a headache, since when it became more popular.

By the end of the first millennium, there were two types – peen cha, in which the leaves were dried and pressed into a cake, and San Cha, in which the leaves were dried and crushed to fine pieces.

It seems to have started in Szechuan and spread from there. An export trade with central Asia commenced in the Sung dynasty.

Under the Manchu no-one may buy or sell tea without a government licence. The licence contains two permits and is required by anyone owning a picul or more of dried tea. He needs it to sell. In the absence of a licence the tea is treated, like salt, as contraband – the shipment is confiscated and the seller beaten. The penalty for forging a licence is beheading and loss of one’s Estate.

Tea early became popular amongst the tribes of central Asia who bartered horses for it. The best horses were worth 12 boxes, the worst 7 boxes. The tea merchant, taking his tea to the frontier for sale, must surrender half to the national treasury and can trade the balance for horses. The government share may not be sold for horses. Central Asian traders coming to the frontier with horses are instead provided with tobacco and wines to satisfy them.

Tea was introduced to Tibet in 9th century AD by the then Chinese Resident Chang. He told the lamas that tea dissipates sorrow and quenches thirst. He served some to the Tibetans who quickly adopted the drink.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

Criminal Jurisdiction in China – Chinese illegally emigrate but China takes no care for their treatment abroad. It recognises no limit on a King’s jurisdiction to regulate all those who come to His country. Equally China expects those coming to China to conform with its laws.

Britain boasts that Englishmen are protected by English law wherever they go in the World, but this is ultimately conditional on the availability of British power ‘on the spot’. Will China permit barbarian law in China or will Britain insist on a replacement for the present system here? England did not respond to the judicial murder of the gunner of the Lady Hughes. America did not respond to the more recent murder of Terranova. No, the supply of tea was at stake. Can this supine surrender be forgotten by the Chinese?

Was their conduct towards Napier reinforced by their recollection that we do not take vengeance for the murder of our people. It seems we should expect neither the British nor the Chinese to protect us.

Vol 8 No 11 – Tuesday 17th March 1835

Married at Macau 5th March – Henry P Sturgis of Manila to Mary Georgiana Howard of Calcutta.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

Two outside men and two clerks to Hong merchants, who have all been imprisoned for the last 4-5 months accused of unlicensed dealings with foreigners, have been released.

We hear they bought their freedom.

It will soon become apparent to the Canton administration that the revenue will continue to decrease until trade is no longer conducted through the Hong merchants alone.

They must enact liberal regulations to preserve the whole Chinese trading community, not just the Hongs.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

The Hoppo has promulgated a new restrictive Edict. The officials do not communicate with us but rely on Hong merchants to inform us of their views. It is these merchants who have defamed us. They say our motive for trade is greed, our lust for profit makes us mislead them with craftiness. They conceal our power of vengeance.

Should the Canton government ever become better informed it will not be slow to punish the Hongs for their deceit. Theirs is a great social and political crime.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

The goods that the Russians buy at Kiakhta are taken to Nijni Novgorod, at the confluence of the Oka and Volga Rivers, for sale. This trade fair commenced in 1832. It is a market for the goods of Georgia and Armenia as well as China. Some 9-10 million Roubles of iron, cast iron and copper are sold in a few days. The best teas sell at 525 paper Roubles; the brick tea at 140-150 paper Roubles, and the others at prices in between. About 28,000 chests of Pekoe and 3,000 chests of brick are traded.

2.031 shops and 1,516 stalls were opened for the trade fair last year. License fees from participants totalled 400,058 Roubles. This year’s fair was slightly larger than last year’s. The sale finished on 6th September 1834.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

The Hoppo Pang with the Viceroy and Foo Yuen have recommended new preventive regulation of foreigners to the Emperor. He now orders the two Viceroys of Chih Li and Fukien & Chekiang and the Foo Yuens of Kiangsu, Chekiang and Fukien to consult on the Canton proposals, which are:

When the foreign ship arrives at Canton, the Hoppo will immediately apply his seal to each piece of cargo and prepare a complete manifest to prevent smuggling. If any ships, foreign or native, are found to have unsealed cargo, it is ipso facto deemed to be contraband.

The Tung Che of Macau will enjoin the pilots and compradores to obey the orders. These people, who must contact foreigners, may not form secret connections with them. If the foreigners come and go, using small boats to visit coastal villages, the pilots will be severely punished. If the foreigners smuggle and the comprador does not report it, he will be punished without indulgence. Inform the Hong merchants and Linguists to advise the foreigners accordingly. Tremble, etc.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

Below are the Canton Provincial Government proposals to the Emperor for the future conduct of foreign trade. It is an amendment of the eight regulations promulgated in 1832 and is updated for the Company’s removal from trade:

Regulations for foreign trade were made in 25th year of Kien Lung (1761), in 14th year of Ka Hing (1810) and 11th year of To Kwong (1832). These regulations were approved and obeyed but have since become mere form. Now the civil and military officers pursue a low course of conduct. Last year the Company was closed and the merchants became individuals with no Taipan to organise them. They have been told to appoint a headman with control over them but everything is in confusion. The closure of the Company has changed the basic circumstances. The former instructions were clear but we must add new regulation to prevent the increase of native traitors. The Hong merchants are enjoined to be strictly just and equitable. We commend 8 new regulations:

  • Warships convoying merchant ships are not allowed in the river and our cruisers must guard against them. These warships were previously allowed to wait outside. Since the middle years of Ka Hing the regulation has been enforced carelessly. Last year foreign warships came in but could do nothing against us. Nevertheless the forts must be strengthened, defensive plans made and foreigners clearly told the law.
    If a foreign warship again enters the river, all foreign trade must instantly be stopped and the merchant ships driven out. Our naval force will cooperate with the forts. A string of boats should be positioned across the river to physically prevent unauthorised access.
  • Foreigners bring guns, sailors and women. The law permits each foreigner to carry one musket and one sword but any other guns and all foreign women must be stopped at the Customs Houses and military stations. All the houses of foreigners are rented from Hong merchants who can thus precisely know what is going on within. They must all be vigilant. Henceforth foreigners may not bring sailors or women or extra guns to Canton.
  • The Tung Che of Macau licenses the estuary pilots and ships’ compradors. He has 14 licensed pilots who bring the foreign ships to the river entrance. The Tung Che will be responsible for the faithful service of pilots and compradors. Lately there have been bandits on the coast who aid the pilots. Henceforth the Tung Che will examine the pilots annually to confirm their names, places of birth, ages, etc. He will maintain a register (which will be available daily to the Viceroy and Hoppo) and provide a stamped certificate to each licensed man to be worn around the waist. Pilots bringing-in a foreign ship must report her arrival along with the name of the pilot boat to each Customs House and military station. Foreign ships must not hire a pilot without a badge around his waist. If the foreigners break the law or use small boats to visit the coast, then the pilots must be seized and severely punished.
    There are also people falsely assuming the names of licensed ships’ compradors to obtain access to foreigners. Ships’ compradors will also have waist badges. They will be supervised by the Tung Che while the ship is at Macau and by the Poon Yu magistrate when the ship is at Whampoa. They will be punished if they fail to report all breaches of our law.
  • Servants employed by foreigners in the factories must be restrained. Apart from house compradors and Linguists, the foreigners were not formerly allowed other servants. In 11th year of To Kwong the foreigners were permitted gatekeepers, water carriers and porters. They are supposed to be hired by the house compradors who then provide them to the foreigners. These people have little shame and some speak the foreign language. They risk becoming traitorously connected. The house compradors must firmly enforce restrictive regulations.
    In future each factory may have two gatekeepers and four water carriers and each foreigner can have one porter. The house comprador will select and hire these servants and the Linguists and Hong merchants will be security for them. They will personally answer for any unsecured persons hired by foreigners. Every month the Hongs will list the names and other details of house compradors and servants of foreigners and pass the list to the Heen magistrate for his records.
    Porters will be hired by Linguists for each specific job and afterwards they will be discharged. Foreigners are not allowed personal servants. The foreigners have hitherto hired many people and select a few from amongst them for personal servants. If they continue to do so the Hong merchants and Linguists will be punished.
  • Foreigners may row boats on the river but the numbers must be restricted and the boats must be distinguishable. They are not allowed to wander around.
  • Foreign ships anchor at Whampoa and use boats to communicate with Canton. The Company was allowed to use undecked boats, which could not hide anything, and to carry a flag. Now the Company is finished, the numbers of these boats should be restricted
  • Foreigners travelling between Canton or Whampoa or sending letters between these places and Macau must use open boats. They are no longer permitted to fly a flag. These boats will be searched at each Customs House to prevent smuggling.
  • Foreigners in the factories may not come and go as they choose. In 11thyear of Ka Hing they were permitted to walk about on the 8th, 18thand 28thdays of each month. Now they constantly disobey this. In future, on the three monthly exercise days, up to ten foreigners may visit Fah Tei and Hoi Cheung Sze (the Honam josshouse) between 3 – 5 pm (i.e. up to totally thirty per month). On their return, they are not allowed to stop at taverns and drink. If the numbers are exceeded or other places visited, the Hong merchants and Linguists will be punished.
  • The foreigners must submit petitions through the Hong merchants. Some foreigners have a coarse understanding of Chinese but not of literary form. They do not know how to make petitions and their style is obscure. They develop their arguments incoherently. They may no longer petition personally unless they are complaining of oppression and neglect by the Hong merchants themselves.
  • The Hong merchants securing ships (the Kam Po who provides a bond and Pai Po who is security by turns) must jointly prevent impropriety. The old regulation required Hong merchants to secure arriving ships in turns. If, when their turn arrives, they refuse to provide security they should be punished for it implies willingness to evade the regulations.
    Country ships must also be secured. Unlike the Company’s ships, country ships can arrive at any time. If the Hongs secure them by turns there is a possibility of oppression. In future, when the ship arrives, its captain will select his own security merchant. Thus there is mutual confidence. That selected Hong will secure everything to do with trade including obtaining the ‘grand chop’ (port clearance certificate) and paying the duty.
    Additionally, each ship is to have a security from amongst the Hongs by rotation. If the foreigner’s own selected security merchant is found to do tricky things with the foreigners, participate in traitorous acts, withhold payment of Imperial duty or become indebted to foreigners, the rotation security merchant will report him to government. If these two security merchants connive, they will be examined and prosecuted.
  • The foreign ships outside (at the smuggling anchorages) sell goods. The naval commanders must search the coast and seize them. Foreign ships coming to Canton for trade will receive a list of duties so Hong merchants may sell their goods. If the foreign ship stays outside it must be driven away. These outside ships not only traffick in opium but trade other goods as well. They must come into the river to have their trade taxed. They are not allowed to loiter on the coast. The guards at every river mouth are to seize any Chinese that goes off to the foreign ships to buy contraband.
    Provincial traitors of Kwangtung, Fukien, Chekiang, Kiangsu and Tientsin carry on this contraband trade with foreigners and carry their goods through the waterways. They do not all come through Canton so I (the Viceroy) cannot catch them all but the sale of legitimately imported foreign goods has decreased along with the revenue. The naval forces should constantly cruise around Lintin. If they find goods, they are to be forwarded to the Hoppo to be formally stamped (as required under the new Customs law) and confiscated. No smuggling is allowed. All the coastal provinces must obey this. All coasting vessels carrying foreign goods must be examined to see if they bear the Canton Hoppo’s seal. If they are unsealed, they are contraband.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

Poon Wan Hoi (the given name of Poon Hoy Qua, Cantonese official name or Poon Ki Qua Mandarin official name), the Hong merchant in arrears on his Customs duty repayments to government, and who has been detained in Canton, was released a few days ago. He owes 30,000 taels and has agreed with the Hoppo to pay 20,000 taels now and settle the balance as soon as possible.

The government seal on his doors has been removed and he has recommenced trading. Poon was formerly the Hoppo’s head clerk or King Ching.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

On 25th March the Hoppo ordered the Poon Yu and Nam Hoi magistrates to seal the premises of Fat Qua’s Hong (Wan Yuen Hong). He is said to owe 200,000 taels in duty.

Vol 8 No 12 – Tuesday 24th March 1835

The Ching penal code at Section 284 requires that a woman who plans to kill her husband, his parents or grandparents shall be beheaded. Principals and accessories receive the same award provided they are all related to the intended victim. If the murder is accomplished, the principals and accessories receive the slow death.

Section 366 in Book 8 of the code deals with relations with women, married or single. Rape merits strangulation. Section 368 directs that forced sex with the wife of a son or grandson merits beheading. Section 369 provides that if the woman falsely accuses male relations of rape, she will be beheaded.

We mention these laws because in Po Lo Heen of Wai Chow Foo, to the east of Canton, a 50 years old man and his son are literary graduates (Shu Tsai) and the son has a beautiful wife. The old man was overwhelmed by lust but his direct approaches were rebuffed. He ordered one of his daughter-in-law’s slave girls to create an opportunity but the woman could still not be seduced. In mid-August last year the son came to Canton for the provincial exam. The evening that he left home, his wife visited neighbours. The father-in-law took this opportunity to conceal himself behind his daughter-in-law’s bed and await her return. She came home, undressed, extinguished the light and retired. The father-in-law then slipped into her bed, cuddled her and entreated her agreement to friendship. The shocked girl demurred and, grabbing a pair of scissors, plunged them into the old man’s chest. She was in due course arrested but the circumstances were found to constitute a complete defence. She was released and given some money in recognition of her chastity.

Not long afterwards an 18 years old wife in Ho Ping Heen in Wai Chow Foo slept with a neighbour. The lovers then poisoned her husband and interred his corpse in the mud floor under the bed. One of the villagers, who had some idea of her adultery, reported to officials who have arrested the couple and brought the woman to Canton for punishment. The man however is rich and the police have been ‘unable’ to serve their arrest warrant on him.

Vol 8 No 14 – Tuesday 7th April 1835

Notice – Capt Charles Elliot today became 2nd Superintendent of the British Commission on the resignation of John Harvey Astell. Alexander Robert Johnstone became 3rd Superintendent. Edward E Elmslie, formerly Senior Clerk, has been made acting Secretary and Treasurer. Sgd Macau 1st April 1835

Vol 8 No 14 – Tuesday 7th April 1835

Editorial – the first season of free trade has ended and 158 British flag ships of 82,472 registered tons have exported 43,641,200 lbs of tea. Viceroy Loo has given Lord Palmerston a lesson which we hope the Lord will take to heart. Napier has come and gone. The Company continues to trade through its Agents notwithstanding its withdrawal is required by Act of Parliament.

This year has adequately established the ability of British traders to manage their own businesses without City of London interference. The conduct and appearance of the country ship crews shame those of the Company ships. If the British government will give us the protection we seek for, it will not be long before we obtain the good opinion of the Chinese.

Vol 8 No 14 – Tuesday 7th April 1835

Another rebellion is reported in Szechuan by supporters of Jahangir, the Muslim leader who was executed with most of his family six years ago under the benevolent gaze of the To Kwong Emperor in Peking. The rebels complaint is that, as he surrendered himself, he should not have been tortured and executed.

The Miao people are said to be also taking advantage of civil instability to promote their own interests.

Vol 8 No 14 – Tuesday 7th April 1835

On Monday 6th April the servants of Mr Jackson were released from prison in Canton. His comprador, cook, cowkeeper and coolie were arrested with Jackson and some other Europeans in 8th Month of last year while travelling from Macau to Canton in a fast boat. They were all accused of breaking the law.

The deal is that the coolie will plead guilty to connections with foreigners while the others will say they had merely taken passage on the boat and know nothing of Jackson’s affairs.

Vol 8 No 14 – Tuesday 7th April 1835

Letter to the Editor – We need an envoy who enjoys public confidence, say Mountstuart Elphinstone, and a force, precisely as we told the King in our petition. Elphinstone should assemble his force at Lintin, receive interpreters, provisions, water and Chinese pilots (or charts). He should then go to Amoy and, leaving his fleet outside, enter in HMS Caledonia (120 guns – largest ship in the national fleet) drawn by a steamer, and anchor off the town. He should then present a letter from King William IV of England to the Emperor of China and obtain a receipt for it from the highest official in town. This letter will demand redress for insults to British honour in the treatment of Napier.

If the receipt is withheld, the town should be continually bombarded until it is supplied. This should be repeated at Ningpo and Nanking to ensure as well as may be that the message gets through.

Once a receipt have been delivered, Elphinstone should sail to Tientsin, board a shallow draft boat towed by the steamer to cross the river bar and send another letter, this time direct to Peking, escorted by an officer attended by Gutzlaff. This letter will require a Plenipotentiary of the Emperor to meet with Elphinstone. If redress for Napier is granted, we should request for the destruction of the Bogue forts. If the Chinese are unwilling we can do the job ourselves. Viceroy Loo’s degradation should be required. Security must be obtained for the landing of the envoy. Thereafter the settlement of a treaty will proceed with ease and certainty.

Should our demand be refused, two or three harbours along the coast are to selected as bases from which we can destroy the coasting trade. We should also interdict the passage of Imperial revenue to Peking via the Grand Canal.

Sgd ‘an enemy of half measures’ 3rd April

Editor – we want more readers’ opinions on our future course of action. The British government is already committed having authorised free trade to China; It has sent an expensive establishment of Superintendents here to regulate it; The English King and his government have been mentioned contemptuously in official Chinese documents; our claims for trade protection are derided; our pretensions to civilisation are scorned. Our ‘unreasonableness’ is made grounds to rule us with misrule.

It is the interest of England and the duty of its government to abandon the present course. Is it safer to preserve what we have got and simply ignore the pretensions of the Chinese who presume to be ‘a light unto the nations’.

William Paley (British arch-deacon and expert on the development in Europe of the Law of Nations – international law) stated the rule – never pursue national honour unless national interest is also involved. He said large concessions (even those relating to mere ceremonial) invite large demands. Utility is Paley’s test when debating points of national honour. He also said the pursuit of interest must be mitigated by a lively sense of reciprocal justice as this makes it more temperate (and thus less dangerous) than mere pursuit of honour.

The Canton Register believes our national interest and honour are inseparable in China. What would Paley say of our situation? He would require our obedience to the laws for public expediency but if they are cruel and oppressive laws, he would no doubt say they invite disobedience.

The exclusive Chinese system is an expression of hostility to the rest of the world. They defy us. Any nation taking up this challenge vindicates its national honour and independence. China has long continued a trade relationship with us which it occasionally breaks off, causing a threat against our property and persons. When our national herald (Napier) is disbelieved and contemptuously rejected, it becomes our national interest to have China resile from its demand for universal homage. If we continue to submit, the Chinese will assume their pretensions are warranted; that they accord with Paley’s concept of reciprocal justice.

The Chinese are unable to change their system from within. We must help them by coercion with the means proportioned to the ends. We must excite fear in the heart of China to obtain an acknowledgement of our human rights. We need a vast fleet of warships led by a unique man, both commander-in-chief and Plenipotentiary, to correct Chinese notions of themselves and others. Once our position has been understood by the Chinese, we should insist on access to all ports. At Canton we are constrained in our trade and entirely controlled by the provincial government. If we traded elsewhere we would deal with many provincial governments with some reasonable prospect that Peking would learn of the systematic mendacity of the Cantonese officials. This should conduce to an incremental improvement of our lot.

Something must be done, but not the diplomatic nonsense of last year, nor the leadership of ex-Company officers.

80 years ago Frederick Pigou disapproved of a Company officer being made a national ambassador to China. Since then, ignoring his informed advice, we have sent two embassies, and both were equally fruitless. We must assume a higher tone and obtain protection for our trade. For if the trade protects itself it will simply be a smuggling trade with armed foreign ships resorting to violence to force our goods in defiance of Chinese law. This can be avoided by the judicious selection of our leaders and by our decisive conduct. We do not want any more half measures or ex-Company officers arousing the suspicion and contempt of the Chinese.

The preservation of trade is our first objective. This requires a commanding naval force in Chinese waters. If any Chinese official threatens a trade stoppage, managing us “with tea reins” as they say, we should instantly retaliate. Stopping our trade is a declaration of war, a defiance, a manifestation of passive hostility. In this way, by returning fire with fire, threat with threat, the Chinese blow is parried and they are left defenceless.

All these considerations concern only the civil and military officers of the Chinese government. We already know the Chinese people favour free trade.

Vol 8 No 15 – Tuesday 14th April 1835

Local news – A tea merchant was leaving his Canton agent, the tea trader Chau Poo Kee, to return home and the agent sent a coolie to carry the merchant’s baggage to his boat which was anchored off Leen Shing Street, near the Hoppo’s office. The coolie hired a sampan to come back but as he stepped into it he slipped and fell into the river and drowned.

Vol 8 No 15 – Tuesday 14th April 1835

Mr Bletterman, former chief of the Dutch VOC factory and subsequently Dutch Consul to China, has left Macau in the Portuguese ship Caesar to go to Batavia on retirement. He accompanied van Braam’s embassy to Peking in 1794-1795.

Mr Bletterman belongs to the period of chartered monopolies when the Chinese were less suspicious of us and more confiding than is now the case.

The unjust aspersions against his honesty (the Dutch government legal action against him for corruption whilst Consul – see above) have been proved false and he is vindicated as an honourable man.

Vol 8 No 15 – Tuesday 14th April 1835

The owners of the receiving ships at Lintin (Dents, Jardines, Russells) have fixed the terms of an agreement with Kwangtung officials whereby the smuggling trade will remain at Lintin.

We have learned that China has the power to stop this trade but the smugglers augment the salaries of government officials of all ranks, from Viceroy to tide waiter, and, it is argued by the officials, the orders from Peking are not to be construed too literally.

A provincial government of China contravenes its own national law and connives at smuggling. The scope and extent of this smuggling is increased by restricting and oppressing the legal trade at Whampoa. This is how the Canton administration works. We append an interesting letter from the captain of one of our east coast smuggling brigs at Lintin:

Letter to the Editor – I recently anchored off Chuen Pi for a few days. Officials repeatedly came alongside to learn our intentions but we ignored them. They said they would send a warjunk to drive us away as we had neither licence nor pilot. We told them it was inconvenient to leave and, if a warjunk approached, we would meet force with force. They then begged us to leave saying they would be criticised if we stayed. They pressed us to go to Lintin which is ‘the proper anchorage for outside vessels’. This was from a mid-ranking official.

I also wish to tell you of an incident whilst trading on the east coast. We were anchored in a bay when two warjunks anchored very close by. We sent over a jollyboat containing an officer and four Lascar seamen to insist the warjunks move further off. The Chinese naval officers demurred whereupon my foreign officer boarded the first junk and seized all her arms, great and small. He then boarded the second boat and pushed all her cannon overboard. He seized the small arms of this junk too. Thereafter the two junks left the bay. Sgd Anonymous

Vol 8 No 16 – 21st April 1835

At 10 pm on 12th April one of our fast ferries from Lintin to Macau was intercepted about 2 miles distant from Lintin by a coast-guard boat containing over a hundred crew. The fast boat contained a European and nine other men.

All the men in the official boat were armed with broad long daggers like Spanish swords. Six boarded the fast boat and searched. The European warned them they were fools and would all lose their heads but they persevered.

Vol 8 No 16 – 21st April 1835

The acting Heens of Nam Hoi and Poon Yu have received an order from the Kwongchow Foo on 12th March concerning the Viceroy’s order about foreign money. Dollars are in general use amongst the Hong merchants, shopkeepers and brokers of Canton.

• The chicken money (Mexican dollar) is worth 1 candareen 4¼ cash less than the foreign-head money (Spanish dollar).

• The tree money (Bolivian dollar) is worth half a cash more than the foreign-head money.

• The staff money (Peruvian dollar) is worth 4¼ cash more than the foreign-head money.

I now order these values be published and used for conversion. A standard coin of each type of foreign money is kept in the Kwongchow Foo’s office to avoid any deceit in trade.

Editor – we should memorialise the Emperor to approve all South American coins as currency throughout the Empire. If not, the circulation of the new coins will be confined to Canton and only the familiar Spanish dollar will be accepted elsewhere.

Vol 8 No 17 – Tuesday 28th April 1835

William Bell and George G de Hochepied Larpent (a former Company man) have commenced business at 6 Old Company’s Hong on 16th April as Bell & Co. Their correspondents are Sir Charles Cockerell & Co in London and Cockerell & Co of Calcutta.

Vol 8 No 17 – Tuesday 28th April 1835

The J M & Co ship Governor Findlay, whilst transiting the Namoa straits on the afternoon of 2nd April, saw an overturned junk with 19 men clinging to it. The junk is the ferry boat between Namoa and Tatoo and had been carrying 68 people when she overturned. All the others appeared to have drowned. It was a cold day.

Our informant says ‘whilst travelling through the straits we were watched by two coast guard junks and two war junks (one from Canton, the other from Amoy) positioned at either end of the passage.’

Vol 8 No 17 – Tuesday 28th April 1835

Calcutta Courier – We have seen a curious document signed by ten firms and individuals of the British Chamber of Commerce in China weakly protesting the Company’s Bills agency in China. The availability of Bills in Canton is advantageous to the free traders as much as the Company. The small number of protesters suggests they are a minority. The document is signed by Matheson and sent via Davis, who was formerly Chief Superintendent.

Canton Register Editor – our arguments are not weak. We make eleven objections. The first is illegality. Although there were few signatories, they represent the majority of British trade here. 144 ships came to Lintin in 1834 of which 77 (53%) were consigned to members of the British Chamber.

Vol 8 No 17 – Tuesday 28th April 1835

Died at Canton 21st April Thomas H Cabot of Boston, aged 21 years.

Vol 8 No 18 – Tuesday 5th May 1835

Letter to the Editor- Three superintendents, one secretary, two doctors, two interpreters, one clergyman, several clerks – that is the establishment of the British Trade Commission at Macau that is employed to sign ships’ manifests.

Is it not true that the 2nd Superintendent has resigned in order to take up the position of Secretary to the Company’s finance committee in China and that the Chief Superintendent also intends to resign very soon to resume employment with the Company?

The fact is, as soon as the death of Napier is known in London, all people connected with the Commission who were previously employed by the Company will be dismissed. Sgd Viator

Editor – the Superintendents of British Trade reside at Macau in their private capacities. The Portuguese governor dare not give them formal recognition as British officials.

Vol 8 No 18 – Tuesday 5th May 1835

The first public sales of teas direct from China, imported in the Charlotte, has occurred at Change Alley, the auction site in London. The sale was managed by M/s Thomson & Co.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary select committee on tea duties has heard evidence from Mr Reeves,[259] the Company’s tea inspector from 1812 – 1831:

“The Inspectorate of Teas was started in 1798 owing to congou (kung fu) teas being found adulterated. There was also colouring added to the Twankey leaf and some Hyson was found to be a few pounds of good quality at the top of each chest overstowed on inferior quality. During the period of my employment no adulteration was discovered in Company teas. Bohea is the lower grade of congou and comes in two varieties – Canton Bohea and Fukien Bohea. The former is the remainder of the year’s crop of Congou that has not been sold and is then mixed with an inferior tea called Wo Ping.

“The higher qualities of Congou and the lower qualities of Souchong are indistinguishable. In black teas, I can distinguish the flavour of the finest Souchong (a few hundred cases are produced each season). After that the 2nd quality Souchong runs into Campoy which runs into the fresh Congou’s which runs into the Bohea. These names address the quality of the black tea.

There are different species of tea called Pekoe, black leaf Pekoe, and the four named above which are all imported from the Bohea country and all produced from the one shrub at different times of the year – i.e. the different grades of tea relate to the time of year they are picked. There are three sometimes four gatherings each year. Each picking takes all the tendrils which must then regrow before the next picking. The first picking is considered superior to the second, etc.

“The free traders do not know how to distinguish the teas and quality may be expected to deteriorate. The Americans buy tea without using tea inspectors but they concentrate on green teas which can be distinguished by sight rather than taste. Americans buy little of the black teas that are distinguished by smell and taste. The qualities of green teas are first Hyson, including Imperial and gunpowder, then Hyson skin, then Twankey, which is the most inferior. Hyson and Hyson skin are picked from the same shrub. Twankey comes from the place of that name.”

Reeves was tested by giving him various types of tea and asking him to identify them. He was successful once and failed once but objected to the way the tests were done. W A Hunt who provided 40 canisters of different teas for the examination said that there were seven commercial tea tasters present who together with Reeves should be able to identify all the samples. These gentlemen were able to distinguish all except two of the teas by merely looking and smelling. They took the sample in between their hands and rubbed it up and down and smelled it. When uncertain they infused some tea and confirmed its identity that way.

Ellis MP, who had been in China, recalled the common people drank a more woody-tasting tea popularly called Bohea by the English (Pu Erh in Mandarin or Bo Lay in Cantonese). He had heard the common Chinese could not afford tea and made a drink from an infusion of fern leaves and a variety of herbs.

Reeves said that the tea commonly available in China is inferior to the tea that the Company bought for English consumption. The only difference was the tea in China was fresher than the tea in England.

Mr Wybrow, former registrar of tea sales for the Customs Department, had no difficulty identifying the teas presented to him. Generally the tea-tasters could distinguish every type of tea. There was some confusion of the better Bohea with the inferior Congou.

In 1825 the import of Bohea was 10% of the import of Congou but by 1832 it exceeded 30%.

Vol 8 No 18 – Tuesday 5th May 1835

We have finally got a sample of the variegated Azalea shrub that we have been searching for here for twenty years. Mr McKilligan took it to England. The leaves are precisely like the brick-red flowered variety but the flowers are more attractive.

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

Excerpt from a placard posted around Canton – “the drought is caused by ourselves. Our hearts are hardened and we have become discontented. The roots of our errors are many. Evil overflows us and Heaven is irritated by our repeated supplications. We should examine ourselves. Let no-one think himself guiltless and accuse others. Let each examine his own feelings and thus conjecture the feelings of others. Be constantly contented with your lot, cherish filial duty and brotherly love, then the harmony of relations, friends, youth and manhood will flourish. Do not indulge your own wishes, depend not on talent and ability, presume not that riches permit you to treat others contemptuously. Do not covet wealth or unlawful pleasures. Do not rely on strength and power nor cherish revenge. Consult your heart in everything and hold fast to your genuine feelings by reason. Constantly correct yourselves and be indulgent of others. Then you can recover the favourable opinion of Heaven. Do all this with sincerity and calamities will change to blessings.”

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

At 10 am on 7th May old Mow Qua’s second son (known to the foreigners as Bardolph[260]) developed a fever and took a boat home to Honam Island. About ten doctors were sent to treat him but he died at noon.

Mow Qua’s first son Loo Ying Kei, who is a military officer at the Bocca Tigris, arrived on 9th May to dress the corpse in its finest clothes. The body was then shrouded and the shroud tied on.

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

Letter to the Editor – Readers know that the only space allowed for our exercise is at Macau and the only place where a horse rider may canter is just west of the Porto Circa barrier (where the horse races are held).

Last week there was an opera at the josshouse by the inner harbour (Ah Ma temple) and the actors and audience took over our riding area and excluded everyone else. A foreigner complained to the Macau Governor and immediately the area was cleared. Sgd Bather

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

Letter to the Editor – the Chinese are as humane and compassionate as anyone. I owe my life to the crew of a salt junk.

One night I was taking two friends from Macau to the Minerva at Lintin when the tide and wind increased and my boat drifted passed Montanha Point. We were cold, wet and miserable and the boat was swamped and on the verge of being blown out to open sea when we saw a salt junk nearby and got alongside of her.

The salt junk crew immediately lit fires, gave us clothes and good food and perfectly cared for us and our Lascars. No request for remuneration was made.

Sgd Captain Kennedy, Brig Fairy at Lintin, 4th May 1835

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

Last Sunday the Georgiana (Thompson) became the first ship from Canton to deliver ‘free trade’ tea to Liverpool, consigned to M/s Cropper Benson & Co. The consignees say the tea is the finest quality, precisely as would have been delivered from Leadenhall Street had the Company’s monopoly continued.

The dealers for Lancashire, Yorkshire and Ireland have been concerned about the qualities to expect under ‘free trade.’ They are reassured by direct imports. They are spared the humiliation of London where the foisting of spurious ‘free trade’ teas has disgraced that market.

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

The Asiatic Journal supports the Company and sneers at free trade. Its edition for November 1834 notes the first ‘free trade’ teas arrived and were put on sale at Change Alley on 7th October. The auction comprised all sorts of tea. Some congou and souchong was sold uneventfully and then a parcel of Bohea brought by the Columbia from Singapore was offered. This had been classified as Bohea by Wybrow, the tea expert of the Customs Department. The attending brokers said there was not a leaf of tea in it and the lot had to be withdrawn. The remaining teas sold well at an average 6d – 9d per lb more than the price of equivalent teas in Company auctions last year.

The second ‘free trade’ tea sale occurred on 24th October. A lot of 30 chests of ‘black tea’ was considered by the brokers to contain no tea. The auctioneer said the tea had not yet been classified by the Customs but was represented by the seller as Bohea. The auctioneer (himself a tea broker) thought it was better than the stuff withdrawn (the previous lot) but in the circumstances he would withdraw this lot as well. The remaining teas were then offered and found to be inferior and very low prices paid. Several lots were unsold. Upon conclusion of the sale, the Customs seized 13 chests on suspicion they contained no tea leaves.

The total import of ‘free trade’ tea to London so far has been 400 boxes per Columbia, 574 boxes per Troughton, 522 boxes by Lloyds, 80 boxes per Neva and 190 chests per Neptune. All the shipments came from Singapore.

Editor – The Company enjoyed a monopoly of China trade for nearly 150 years but it was only in the last 44 years that it provided England with unadulterated tea. Mr Reeves (see above) gave evidence that prior to 1790, congous were frequently full of spurious leaves, Twankey (a green tea) was often made of black tea with added colouring and chests of hyson had 2-3 lbs of appropriate quality tea at the top with inferior grades beneath. Reeves notes the Company was lately importing 30,000,000 lbs of tea annually but employed only two tea inspectors (most recently Reeves and Layton) in China. In the first year of free trade, we have sent 43,500,000 lbs back and have used the services of both the Company’s ex-inspectors plus MacCaughey and Smith to identify quality.

But we have to take care. Chinese junk traders have shipped inferior teas to Singapore (where no European tea tasters live) which has been re-exported to London. Fortunately these were instantly detected and rejected at London which tends to confirm that counterfeit tea will not pass unnoticed into England.

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

A letter from Canton received in Liverpool and dated 24th April 1834 says the Camden, Georgiana and Francis Charlotte have all been dispatched by J M & Co to England with tea cargoes. The Pyramus is loading and will shortly follow. The teas on all four ships are the teas that the Company contracted for at the close of last season and would have shipped had its monopoly continued.

Company supporters in London are spreading stories that the ‘free trade’ cannot provide the same quality of tea as the Company did.

Vol 8 No 19 – Tuesday 12th May 1835

The Company’s accounts up to the end of its China-trade monopoly have been published. From these we can calculate comparative costs of tea in England under the Company and under the ‘free trade’.

The last 5 years of monopoly produced an average annual shipment of 30,000,000 lbs costing £1,771,824 + freight £510,567 + 5% merchandise charge and supercargoes’ commissions.

The first year of free trade shipped 43,641,200 lbs (36,382,000 lbs black at £1,887,702 and 7,259,000 lbs green at £526,313 – these figures are based on average costs of each variety i.e. probably excessive, and assume an exchange rate of 6/2½d per tael) cost £2,414,015 in 67 ships for an average £5.10.0d per ton = £192,401 for freight.

There is a clear saving on ‘free trade’ tea and a huge saving over the Company’s charges on freight.[261]

Vol 8 No 20 – Tuesday 19th May 1835

The business of Richard Markwick & Co at Canton, Lintin and Macau will in future be conducted by Richard Markwick, Robert Edwards, Henry Skinner and Charles Markwick from 7th May and the firm renamed Markwick Edwards and Co.[262]

Vol 8 No 20 – Tuesday 19th May 1835

The Macau Passage Boats Company announce the following fixed sailing times effective 16th March 1835:

Macau to Canton



Canton to Macau



Friday (via Lintin)

Tuesday (via Lintin)





St George

St George



Fare $15 per passenger, payable at Macau

The Macau government prohibits landing goods, specie or luggage at the Praia Grande and passengers should bring only the baggage necessary for the trip.

Sgd Robert Edwards and Henry Skinner

Vol 8 No 20 – Tuesday 19th May 1835

Notice to the British Chamber – the Superintendents have been directed by Palmerston to provide certificates to tea shippers confirming the tea-name and quality of tea shipped. The certificates will be prima facie evidence as to quality at London.

Sgd Edward Elmslie for the British Trade Commission.

Vol 8 No 21 – Tuesday 26th May 1835

Letter to the Editor – The books in the English Library in the Company factory at Canton are to be distributed amongst eight parties and the library closed.

This library was founded in 1806 and the 4,300 books it now contains come from legacies, gifts and subscriptions. Not a single resident subscriber was here when the library was founded.

An offer by a minority of shareholders in the Library to indemnify the majority in the library’s total value, provided the collection is kept together and available to the public, has been declined.

I hope this is the last example of that selfish spirit which we have hitherto manifested.

Editor – the rules of the Library vest its ownership in the resident subscribers. These are not only Englishmen but many other nationalities who have honorary membership and have donated books. In the great fire of 1822 the collection was saved by the exertions of a great many foreigners, not all of them residents or subscribers.

We say this to cause the ex-Company officials who are disbanding the library to pause. They have not learned much from the books if they insist on a private right in preference to a great public good.

A Deed of Gift to the residents in China, with an undertaking those residents preserve and increase the books, would be appropriate.

Vol 8 No 21 – Tuesday 26th May 1835

Calcutta Courier, 7th February 1835 – The Canton Register is still for war with China. Unqualified submission to the war party at Canton is required. The rights of free trade are absolute – we can go where we like, trade where we like, possess any land we like, because barbarism must vanish before civilisation and our God prevails over the Godless.

The Editor of the Canton Register asserts that nations have no rights. Might is right. Well, it has been done often enough, but we cannot agree that our right to occupy the vacant lands of Australia is because barbarism must give way to civilisation. It is because those lands have neither occupant nor owner. The aboriginals have not been driven out by our settlements. They are nomadic. Had they had a settlement we would have been obliged to respect it but there was never enough of them to occupy the entire continent.

Editor Slade – I deny I am a warmonger. The disputes between races arise from means not ends. All humanity wants the same things – security, food, comfort – it is the means of attaining them that is disputed. Cumberland tells us that we should always take the shortest route, not use more instruments than are necessary, not use a machine when we can do it by hand. There is no war party amongst the free traders.

And the Calcutta Courier’s Editor should know that Sydney was in the indisputable possession of a tribe of aboriginals when the Company occupied it. The King died a few years ago but his dispossessed Queen still wanders the streets.

Vol 8 No 21 – Tuesday 26th May 1835

The Spectator – Gutzlaff has published his work China. Someone unfamiliar with China may find it boring for it lacks the breadth of treatment necessary to make an obscure subject interesting but where Gutzlaff follows the Chinese texts he is most striking. The whole book is based on Chinese authorities and full of strange ideas expressed in a simple way.

The 6th chapter deals with the ancient Muslim trade. The 7th with modern trade. Gutzlaff gives his opinion that the Chinese should be managed with firmness, threats and compulsion.

He says we should select the best ports and, by keeping warships on station, insist on our way. Alternatively, he says we can send an army to Peking and obtain a commercial treaty or overthrow the Ching.

He concludes that both these alternatives would be expensive and finally suggests, as he has often done in his journals, that we occupy a few ‘unclaimed’ islands along the coast for trade and leave the Chinese merchants to defy or bribe their own officials.

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

Local news – On 22nd May, 8 men rushed into Hoo’s house on Heung Mao Street and stole some bedding and clothes. They escaped before the watchmen could be called. The police were still interviewing witnesses when the group struck again in a nearby street. The watchmen were immediately alerted and caught two.

Next evening six men attacked Yuk Wo Tong Street, a place popular with dancing girls, and stole again. Some police were already patrolling there and caught four of them. All six arrested men were taken to the Poon Yu magistrate with the recovered stolen property.

They say they are silk weavers. In the past few months the foreigners have bought little silk and their trade had shrunk.[263] They had no money to buy the tools to pursue another trade and, as they had nothing to eat, they chose to steal. They were each sentenced to forty lashes and to wear the cangue for a month.

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

Bombay Courier, 3rd February 1835 – We have seen a copy of the petition sent to the English King by the China traders at Canton.

Briefly the merchants say that the Superintendents of Trade are unable to reside where their instructions require them to reside. They say that the powers given to Napier and the force at his disposal were both insufficient. They say that the most dangerous course with the Chinese is quiet submission.

They request that the next Superintendent have full powers; that he has a ship-of-the-line and two frigates, that he be instructed to demand reparations at Peking. They say if he is thwarted he should stop the coasting trade and capture Chinese shipping until the Chinese are brought to agreement. They want the new Superintendent to be unconnected with the Company. They end by noting the failure of all diplomacy so far.

We think this petition will carry considerable weight in London.

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

The Governor Findlay (JM & Co) has returned from its exploratory voyage along the East Coast that commenced in April. They entered the Min River on 7th May in a pleasure craft. The foreign party comprised Gordon (The man seconded by Calcutta to get tea plants), Chas Gutzlaff and Rev Stephens, Gordon’s servant, a tindal and eight Lascars.[264] They tried to detour around Foo Chow but got lost. They actually rowed through the town at noon on 9th May and the local officials allowed them to pass but followed them at a distance. The countryside is highly cultivated and beautiful. Orange and mulberry groves were seen on every flat piece of land. More wheat and barley than rice was seen growing. They went up river for 70 miles in spite of warnings to return until they were attacked from both banks by soldiers armed with muskets and swivels. Louis Fernandez, who is Gordon’s servant, and a Lascar were both wounded. They then turned back under tow of a government boat. They returned to their ship and sailed back to Lintin arriving last week.

Whilst the boat party was up the river, government officials and soldiers daily visited the Governor Findlay outside the harbour. On the first two days many merchants examined the cargo and sales had commenced until Admiral Chin (the Admiral often mentioned in Lindsay’s journal) brought a fleet of 17 war junks and anchored nearby. Thereafter naval officers came on board daily and asked us repeatedly to leave. Captain McKay told them he was awaiting the return of the boat.

Gordon thought the shooting at us in the river was unwarranted and had Gutzlaff prepare a Protest to the Fukien Governor. Gutzlaff wore his Chinese clothes and went aboard the biggest war junk to deliver it. He based his arguments on reciprocity – that Chinese in foreign ports received the same trading rights as foreigners. The officials replied that the Emperor confined foreign trade to Canton and it was useless to object.

McKay later sent over a lad for provisions. He was given some sugar cane, dried squid and a shoulder of pork. McKay instantly attended the Admiral to protest this insult. The Admiral said the gifts were intended for the lad and his boat crew, not for the entire complement of Governor Findlay. A greater supply of provisions was promised for the following day.

Gordon allowed two days for a response to his Protest where after he said he would take whatever steps seemed appropriate. The Chinese replied that the presence of a foreign ship caused them trouble. Gordon said he would move outside if free trade was permitted. They replied they were bound by the orders of others and could only transmit our request to the higher officers. Two days later a note was thrown onto the Findlay’s deck inviting Gordon to visit and receive the Governor’s answer. Gordon replied that he expected to receive the Governor’s instruction in the usual manner. He returned the note with the copy of the Governor’s orders. The note had contained an inference that Gordon was afraid to attend the Admiral’s junk. Gordon decided he must sight the original order and moved the Findlay to lay broadside to the war junks and a few yards off. Her six gun ports were opened and the guns loaded, run out and aimed at the Admiral. He then went on board the Admiral’s warjunk and berated him. He also complained that, as the Governor had justified firing on the Findlay’s boat, he (Gordon) would lay the whole matter before his own government. The Admiral regretted the misunderstanding and confirmed that provisions would be sent the next day.

Gordon took away with him the original of Viceroy Ching’s edict. This has never been done in Canton. The scroll is 6 feet long and sealed thrice by Viceroy Ching, Lo the Manchu General of Fukien and Wei the Fukien Foo Yuen. The scroll is unique in using the word ‘outside man’ instead of barbarian throughout.

On 18th May, five days after the return of the boat, the Governor Findlay departed the Min River. No guns were fired or crackers let off as would have occurred in Canton to evidence the ‘victory’, Gordon having previously told them that he permitted no marks of triumph to accompany his departure.[265]

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

Steam service to India – The Admiralty has arranged a steam packet Malta to Alexandria that will meet with mails and passengers per the steamer Hugh Lindsay from Bombay. It will bring London mail via the Mediterranean packet from Falmouth.

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

Local news – Mow Qua died at home on Honam Island at 10 pm 7th May. Apart from his relatives, the rest of the Canton community is delighted. As a senior Hong merchant he often fronted the provincial government’s corrupt directions which were unpopular amongst us but he also felt a deep concern to prevent any extension of foreigners’ rights and privileges in China. He bought nominal rank and visited Peking where he befriended Loo our present Viceroy.

Fat Qua is said to be reiterating his demand that his sentence of banishment be commenced. He says he does not wish to die amidst his troubles in Canton. He is rumoured to have hidden a fortune for the maintenance of his six wives and eleven daughters but the Hoppo has been unable to find it. This is why he continues to be incarcerated here. He owes the revenue over 300,000 taels but pleads poverty and shows no indication of willingness to repay.

Vol 8 No 22 – Tuesday 2nd June 1835

Letter to the Editor – another accident has occurred at Lintin. Capt C’s boat capsized and he nearly drowned. Lintin is a poor anchorage for our valuable contraband trade. As trade increases and more ships come there will increasingly be accidents.

I think Kum Sing Mun (Kiao Island, north of Macau) is a better anchorage. It is perfectly secure and lies directly on the sea route between Macau and Canton.

Kap Soy Mun, at Ma Wan Island near Lantau, is more exposed than Lintin and is remoter. Ships can take 2-3 days to work into the anchorage and need the same time for departure. The risks to underwriters are enhanced and communications with Macau and Canton are even more delayed.

Everyone knows the deficiencies of Lintin and Kap Soy Mun. For the safety of our lives and valuable property we should remove our smuggling trade to Kum Sing Mun. Sgd Commonsense

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

The late Dr Morrison originated the proposal for an English newspaper at Canton and we remember his numerous contributions with gratitude. This paper would not long have survived without the publication of his record of occurrences interesting to foreigners.

We should remember also that the cost of his time in developing all that information about China was paid by the Company to whom he provided invaluable translation and sinological services in return. Company officials also directly provided the Canton Register with local political and commercial information.

We mention all this because we are now deficient in local news and solicit the forbearance of readers while we seek to remedy the situation.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

The Manchu General visited the Shui Sze Ying (naval base) to review the Chinese marines. These are descendants of the Chinese army that assisted the Manchus in subduing China in 17th century.

He returned via the steps at the foreign factory landing stage and thence through the City’s West gate to his yamen.

Many Chinese officers accompanied him. Some were Hee Ling and Tso Ling (equivalent to Colonels and Majors) wearing blue buttons. Others were Fong Yuen (Captains) wearing crystal buttons. The titles and duties of the Chinese army are quite different from the Emperor’s own army. Our European and native forces in India provide a useful analogy.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

Mow Qua’s funeral occurred on 2nd June. His body was carried to the Pak Wan Sze (White Cloud Temple) for storage until his grave site has been selected and prepared. A paper model of his house and numerous other necessaries were burned for his use in the after life. His son Ying Kei employed both Taoist and Buddhist priests to officiate.

This wise policy of ‘leaving nothing to chance’ is something that Papists, Lutherans, Calvinists and Methodists should consider as well.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

The self-sufficiency of the Chinese economy is often extolled by foreigners. It seems preposterous to propose that foreign trade can produce mutual advantage. The fact is that population increases to meet the capacity of the land to sustain it. Any bad harvest then causes starvation as the Treasury exists from day to day without making provision for emergencies.

This provides our opportunity to supplement Chinese rice stocks from abroad. It is a good argument for free trade. But Ching officials resent our assistance and we can effectively only give trifling help in the maritime provinces.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

The teas shipped to England via Singapore have brought our ‘free trade’ into disrepute. Fortunately our ships from Canton soon arrived to remedy the bad opinion. The tea they bought has uniformly been recognised as of higher quality than the previous Company supply. Our own teas were bought after the usual export season had been concluded (i.e. later than the Company would have bought them when prices had moderated).

This is a new market which was formerly dominated by the Company and the Americans. It was a good effort for new entrants into an obscure trade for no professional tea taster was employed in selecting any of the cargo on Frances Charlotte, Georgiana, Pyramus or Camden. Now the free traders have secured the services of four tea tasters in Canton to supplement the experience of the merchants themselves.

We were previously confined to smuggling teas to England and Hamburg, supplying Australia and South East Asia and India. Now we have the pearl of the British market.

The Georgiana’s cargo, which was sold in Liverpool, will produce an estimated £15,000 to the importers. The Camden, which delivered free trade tea to Glasgow, was well received as were the Frances Charlotte and Pyramus in London.

Meanwhile over 2,000,000 lbs of the Company’s remaining tea stock of 40,000,000+ lbs was sold in London for export only.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

Fire and life assurance would be a boon to the Chinese. The Chinese Repository in its May 1835 edition considers the subject. Chinese routinely save part of their income and those who travel abroad remit money to their relatives remaining at home. Once the purpose of insurance is understood in China they will instantly recognise its advantages.

The fire of 1822 extinguished the gaiety and glory of Canton. Had fire-fighting on that occasion been more thoughtful (particularly the intentional demolition of houses to create fire-breaks) the effects of that fire might have been mitigated. It spread to four or five parallel streets and a north wind sprung up that quickly blew it right down to the riverside.

The northern wall of the English factory was capable of withstanding the flames and, had the windows along the west side, overlooking Hog Lane (Sin To Laan), been draped with wet blankets, the building might well have escaped. The creek protected its eastern side. It was via the western windows that the fire entered the dining room and library. From there it spread into the warehouse and thence to the adjacent Dutch factory.

Both the foreign traders and the coolies we employ have become experts in fire-fighting since 1822. We can now establish an experienced corps.

Narrow streets, terraces of houses with wooden scaffolding above cooking fires, combustible materials left everywhere – these are the reasons adduced to deny a role for fire insurance in Canton. Risks vary from place to place. Physical separation and fire-resistant walls would diminish risk.

The areas of interest readily divide into four – Macau, Honam and Canton (within and without the city) would each be rated differently. We might start by assessing the fire risks relating to European movable property. Macau risks would be similar to risks in Europe. The houses and warehouses are built separately – fire in one will not readily jump to another. The same may broadly be said of Honam. In Canton, the Chinese light fires briefly twice a day for cooking. They do not use fire for heating the house, but may place a small charcoal-burner under a bed in winter. In Europe by comparison a domestic fire is kept burning day and night all year round. Chinese fireplaces (for gong) are detached from the building structure and raised on bricks. The houses are brick and tile and the use of wood is limited to furniture. The roof is a far more solid structure than its European counterpart. There are often two sometimes three layers of well-cooked tiles over a house. This seems to address all the aspects contributing to the incidence of fire here and makes clear why Canton fires are less common than European ones.

The current proposal for fire insurance is limited to imported goods belonging to Europeans and provided to a Hong merchant for sale and to Chinese goods already marked and numbered for export. All these goods are stored in the Hong merchant’s warehouses. All the Hong’s warehouses are built on the riverbank and property can readily be moved in / out the building and from / to the water. We should note that on the northern side of the Hong warehouses is a narrow street that would not prevent fire spread yet the solid brickwork of the warehouses will overcome the narrowness of this street. The same considerations broadly apply to the foreign factories as well.

At a fire in the western suburbs last year which consumed 30-40 houses, there were 9 fire engines brought to the scene before the arrival of the first foreigners who are usually quick to attend. Every Hong now has one or two engines. The European habit of creating fire breaks (by demolishing unburned structures) has been adopted by the Chinese. It seems that certain fire risks are capable of being managed and insured.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

Letter to the Editor – I saw in your paper that Captain George Kennedy of the Governor Findlay saved 19 Chinese from a sinking junk near Namoa. You might be interested in a similar event.

Capt John Rees of the Colonel Young (also J M & Co), whilst anchored in a bay near Chuan Chow, saw a junk run aground and break-up. He sent the longboat and rescued 14 men. He maintained them on the Young for a couple of days until the weather improved then sent them ashore with a few dollars to get home. Later some local villagers sailed out and presently Rees with joss sticks and red candles. A few of their number claimed money on behalf of those crewmen who had swum ashore themselves and not required rescuing but they were told to ‘go away’.

Junks are as seaworthy as European boats but I am aware of two other wrecks. One large junk was blown ashore near Chuan Chow and all the crew were saved. The other was found by a European ship drifting with her masts and rigging gone. We sent the jolly boat to give help. The decks were strewn with rice grains but the cargo (presumably bagged rice, had already been plundered. Four putrid bodies were found, three in the cabin and one on deck, all lying on mats and wrapped in bedding. They were emaciated and appeared to have died from neglect. Sgd A Coaster

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

The Uzbeks are great tea drinkers. They add salt to the beverage. They never use sugar or milk but sometimes add butter to make a drink they call Kei Muk Cha. Tea-drinking is a social pastime. After drinking the infusion, the used leaves are distributed and chewed like tobacco.

Vol 8 No 23 – Tuesday 9th June 1835

Burn’s Travels – Since the capture of Yarkand, the government of the cities around the Takla Makan has been left to the Muslims and only some 5,000 Chinese remain in Yarkand to superintend this Muslim self-administration.

The cities are garrisoned by Tungani tribesmen who claim descent from Alexander the Great. Boys of 14-15 years old join the garrison and serve for 15 years. They are Muslims but dress like Chinese. They may not marry or have their families living nearby.

The Muslim governor of Yarkand is named Hakim Beg and he is subject to the directions of Chinese Residents, both at Kashgar and Ili.

The journey to Peking normally takes five months but the express pony service manages it in 35 days. A super express can cover the distance in half that time. Every 8-10 miles along the entire route there is a staging post where horses are changed. At each staging post a heap of wood is kept. This is fired and dampened to send smoke signals to the next post in event of special emergency. A variety of signals can be transmitted which reach Peking in 6 days. It was by this means that the previous insurrection was notified to Peking and an army of 70,000 men rapidly assembled and sent. That army was said to have been armed with huge matchlocks which each required two men to carry them.

The Chinese at Yarkand seldom interfere with the Muslim administration. They take a duty of 1/30th of the trade and they are well tolerated, even liked.

Vol 8 No 24 – Tuesday 16th June 1835

Viceroy Loo returned from his inspection of Kwong Si Province on 8th June. He is much slimmer now and rather tanned.

Vol 8 No 24 – Tuesday 16th June 1835

Readers may recall our previous notification that a hospital is to be established. A meeting was held on 23rd February at the British Hotel in Imperial Hong and a steering committee appointed (Wm Jardine Chairman with R Turner, J R Reeves, Framjee Pestonjee and W Blenkin Members).

A second meeting on 13th June was held at the house of Fox Rawson & Co. It was agreed that $4,000 be collected for the purchase of an old ship that is locally available. It will be moored at Whampoa as a floating hospital.

We must now ask the merchants and shipowners of England and India who are engaged in the China trade for their contributions. This is not an appeal for charity but to self-interest – to preserve the health of our sailors on whom our wealth in part depends. The hospital will serve British and foreign crews and provide free treatment for indigent Chinese.

Vol 8 No 24 – Tuesday 16th June 1835

Notes on Bokhara (now the capital of Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan -an Emirate formerly under Persian influence):

Besides Russia and India, Bokhara also trades with China at Kashgar and Yarkand. They buy some chinaware, musk and silver but mainly the trade is in green tea. This year 950 horse loads of tea (200,000+ lbs) have been brought to Bokhara, nearly all for local consumption although a little is traded over the Hindu Kush.

The traders are Budukhis who understand the Chinese and have pleasure dealing with them. The tea arrives from China in boxes but these could not withstand the onwards journey so the contents are bagged and sewn into hides. 250 lbs of bagged tea (one horse load) costs 60 Tillas in Yarkand but 100 Tillas in Bokhara. It comes from Tukht and is sent via Astrakhan in lead-lined boxes. It sells for 4 Rupees per lb and is very tasty. The locals say it retains its flavour due to the dryness of the atmosphere.

Bokhari trade with Persia has become small due to religious differences and the lawlessness of the trade route via Mershid to get there. Kerman shawls and Tabriz opium (Tabriz is near the northern frontier of Persia) are the main imports and the latter is re-exported to China. Persian opium sells for 5 Tillas per maund at Yarkand and Kashgar. Bokhara is astonishingly productive of fruit. The markets are full of grapes, melons, apricots, peaches, pears and plums.

As evening commences, the King’s drum is sounded and every citizen returns home for it is illegal to be found outdoors at night without a lantern.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

For sale – Company 60-day sight bills on Bombay Presidency. Apply Thomas Dent & Co

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

M J Senn van Basel and G M Toelaer have established business as commission agents at Canton, trading as S van Basel, Toelaer & Co. 12th June 1835

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

At the beginning of this month, Sir George Best Robinson, acting Chief Superintendent of Trade, instructed Markwick (one of J M & Co’s faction), the recently appointed postmaster, to deliver to him all bags of mail addressed to the Company’s agent in China, which Robinson seems to think is him. All letters arrive in bags addressed to the Company’s agent.

Mail arrives at Lintin and, if opened there, is soon delivered to Canton and distributed. This is what we have done for the last few years and it is a perfect system. Now it will have to go to Robinson in Macau and be delayed there at least a day, possibly a week. We hope the Bengal Government will amend its practice and in future address every bag to the Postmaster here.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Local news:

  • The Imperial reply to Viceroy Loo’s application to retire was received on 13th June. The application is declined. Loo is to remain as Viceroy here.
  • On 16th June Kam San Chun of Shun Tak was beheaded for robbery and a man named Tsang from Kwong Ming was put to the slow death for poisoning his father-in-law.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Peking Gazettes:

Chow Shun of Chao Ching in Shansi spread depraved doctrine. The magistrate was sent to arrest him. Chow organised resistance, set fire to the prison and the court, killed the magistrate and all his family and servants, and ran away.

The Emperor now orders that the magistrate be posthumously honoured and a commemorative temple be built to him, his family and servants. Chow Shun and his group must be pursued and captured. His heart is to be plucked out and sacrificed to the magistrate’s spirit.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Framjee Pestonjee has donated $1,000 to the proposed floating hospital.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Letter to the Editor – the Superintendents at Macau have been empowered to issue certificates of quality and quantity in respect of tea cargoes. How do we get them? What documentation is required? Is it incumbent on the shipper to get them? What happens if he does not?

According to the circular, the certificates are merely prima facie evidence of quantity and quality and not really meaningful at all. Since the establishment of free trade we have had first the proposal to tax British shipping to its competitive disadvantage, then the requirement to visit Macau to have manifests signed and now this tea certificate thing whereby someone ignorant of tea is to certify its quality.

It seems free trade is to be hampered by our own government’s administrative requirements. I suspect these certificates, issued here in ignorance, will be seen in England as authoritative. Sgd Viator.

Editor – if these certificates are compulsory, the ship’s Tea Manifest should become redundant.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Letter to the Editor – A captain with a mutinous and insubordinate crewman, turned the fellow out at Macau for the safety of his ship. Now a Public Notice issued by the Superintendents says it is illegal to abandon crew members here.

Only the Macau people have a complaint, not the Superintendents.

If the Macanese say nothing that should be the end of it. What illegality is involved? Sgd Nauticus

Editor – there is an Act for the relief of British seamen in foreign ports (58 George III, Cap 38) that updates an act of William III requiring the master of any British merchant ship to not abandon any of his crew but to bring them home again. Refusal involves three months gaol on conviction on indictment at King’s Bench, Westminster.

Vol 8 No 25 – Tuesday 23rd June 1835

Letter to the Editor – now the Company has been gone for a year I think it impolitic to give them our letters. They used to represent the government. Now they are our trade competitors. We should request the Superintendents to complain to the Indian government.

Sgd ‘Give me my own’.

Vol 8 No 26 – Tuesday 30th June 1835

Editorial – It was the withholding of letters to the Canton community by Red Rover’s captain in 1833 that provoked the Governor General of India to both cancel the licence of Jardines’ receiving ship Hercules and require the Indian presidencies to address all future letter-bags to the President of the Select here.

Last year the printed Postmaster’s receipts (that are returned to each port which sends correspondence to us) were endorsed to show that a postmaster had been appointed here and he merely awaited confirmation of his appointment from H M Government. This advice has been ignored so far.

The Company obtained its power over our communications in 1833 and should have relinquished it in 1834 on determination of its monopoly.

Vol 8 No 26 – Tuesday 30th June 1835

Letter to the Editor – The detention of letters is deplorable. The rule should be ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. You accuse Robinson but he is an honourable man who would never wilfully detain letters or impede business.

People enclose their private letters in the Company’s despatch bag to avoid loss, detention and inspection. Letter sent through the ordinary post are carelessly handled at Lintin. Ship’s agents and visitors are able to look through the envelopes whilst they are being sorted.

It is also the case that some shipowners detain their ships outside whilst their own letters are forwarded by boat first; or a shipowner intentionally detains letters after arrival until the ship is at anchor. There are also wilful detentions by ‘independent’ ferry boat operators who may be connected with those ships. These people undertake to personally deliver letters but distribute some of them to others to effect delivery.

I distinguish all this from the supposed detention of private letters enclosed in a despatch bag addressed to Robinson in his official capacity.

I also regret your hostility and that of your correspondents towards the members of what you call the ‘finance committee’. This will only perpetuate our reputation for party spirit which is extinguishing whatever sympathies we could expect from Europe. Sgd CC

Vol 8 No 27 – Tuesday 7th July 1835

Wu Ping Kin, How Qua’s 4th brother and manager of Yee Wo Hong’s tea department, died on 27th June. How Qua is deeply affected. His family members keep dying and he himself cannot have long. His 4th son Wu Yuen Sang is employed in the Chung Shu Kuk in Peking, an office under the Emperor’s cabinet. His 5th son Yuen Wai obtained the Keu Jin literary degree aged 19 years. The 6th son is still a lad.

Vol 8 No 27 – Tuesday 7th July 1835

Kwong Lei Hong, the name of the late Mow Qua’s Hong, has requested to close its business but the Viceroy and Foo Yuen disallow it.

They have asked How Qua to lend Kwong Lei Hong 200,000 taels and directed that Mow Qua’s brother or son should continue the business.

Vol 8 No 27 – Tuesday 7th July 1835

There are unceasing attacks in the English press against the opening of China to free trade. These enemies of liberty, the birthright of all Britons, are enraged and disappointed but we fearlessly back the British public’s choice against the tirades of the Asiatic Journal and the Quarterly.

Vol 8 No 27 – Tuesday 7th July 1835

The dissatisfaction over mails continues. We have an envelope bearing the Honourable Company’s arms and addressed:

Honourable East India Company’s Service, Ship Mail No 8,
per the Ann Baldwin, Captain Crawford
To the Agent of the Company, Canton,
Calcutta General Post Office, 26th April 1835, Sgd Wm Money.

It contains a certificate signed by the Deputy Postmaster showing the number of letters in the mail. The certificate contains a request that the Company’s agent endorse the date of arrival, sign and return it early to Calcutta GPO.

Robinson insisted letters be delivered to him as he, being the Company’s Agent in Canton, was responsible for returning this certificate.

Vol 8 No 27 – Tuesday 7th July 1835

This edition contains a very long letter from “Free Trade” on the aspersions of the British press against the free trade teas as inferior and unwholesome. In brief it says:

It is not the case that the Company advanced the cost of teas to the Hong merchants each year. Four years ago the Company left Canton for Macau at Lunar New Year (a time for settlement of outstanding accounts) having ordered their next year’s teas but not paid for them but having sold their Bills on Bengal and shipped the silver proceeds off to England. This removal of capital caused How Qua to propose his retirement.[266]

The following year the Americans bought the green teas that the Company had contracted for, both from the Hong merchants and outside men. Nevertheless, this last season, How Qua has not only provided the free trade with tea but has shipped to England a considerable amount of the finest teas that China produces on his own account.[267]

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

Captain Richard Alsager has been returned as the Tory MP for East Surrey. Long time residents will recall the Captain commanded HMS Waterloo during the Lintin affair of 1821-22 when the Select Committee was obliged to spend 6 weeks on his vessel at Chuen Pi.

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

Yesterday the Viceroy visited the new foundry at Tung Kiu Cheung to view an enormous gun which has been cast there. It weighs 7-8 piculs (about 1,000 lbs) and is the largest gun ever made in Kwangtung province

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

Letter to the Editor – Concerning delayed delivery of letters, when a ship arrives at Macau, Markwick occasionally stores the letters until he has a batch sufficiently large to send onto Canton.

If a ship with correspondence arrives at Lintin why send the letters to Macau?

As to the finance committee (‘the Company’s Bill brokers’) receiving the letters of others, it merely requires pointing out to be corrected. Sgd PP

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

A document from the Privy Council (Keung Kee) in Peking informs that foreign merchants have petitioned for the opening of foreign trade in Fukien.

The Emperor forbids it and orders the governor of Kwangtung to administer his province more strictly.[268]

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

The ship Troughton was dismasted in a storm and, whilst lying close to the Kwangtung shore afterwards, was boarded by 300-400 pirates who stabbed many of the crew and stole all the cargo including a large amount of treasure. We suppose the property is insured in London.

$50,000 of the silver in the cargo belonged to How Qua. If the Chinese government refuses compensation from the Consoo Fund, How Qua will get his claim paid by his insurer. If the Consoo Fund responds to the loss, the greater part of How Qua’s loss will be made good with his own money!

How Qua’s conflict of interest may operate against the other cargo owners. His position is like the Superintendents – both traders and public servants at the same time.[269] The Superintendents have adopted Napier’s policy of communicating only with the government. Who will press our Troughton claims with the authorities?

Vol 8 No 28 – Tuesday 14th July 1835

Calcutta Courier, 29th May – When Lord William Bentinck was at Simla in 1831 he received a letter from the Chinese Amban at Lhasa brought by a native of Patna who had been caught spying in Tibet and detained for several months. He was now returned. As the Amban put it – ‘he felt confident that the ruler of Bengal would not plan aggression against a friendly power.’

This letter was so imperious that Bentinck felt he could not answer it himself and gave it to the head of his Persian Department to answer in his own name. A Persian letter addresses the power and majesty of the King interminably – His forbearance and condescension, the renown of His arms, the high office of the person who honours the Amban with correspondence, etc., etc.

Bentinck intended the Chinese official to be astonished.

Vol 8 No 30 – Tuesday 28th July 1835

Local news – Another newspaper is to be printed in Canton.[270]

Vol 8 No 30 – Tuesday 28th July 1835

Hoppo’s reply to the Parsees petition by 18 individual traders plus H R Patel and J S Patak:

“Pang the Hoppo instructs the Hong merchants to advise the Parsees.

“Framjee Pestonjee and others say the Canton silk comes in five qualities. 1st is $400, 2nd and 3rd is $300, 4th is $170 and 5th (skin silk) is several ten dollars per picul. These qualities differ greatly. They ask that the fixed duty on silk of 13 taels per picul be varied according to the quality. They say no one will pay a high duty on cheap silk and the inexpensive qualities thus fall into the smuggling market.

“They also petition that the absolute limit on silk exports may be waived in respect of the 5th quality of raw silk and it should not attract a double duty.

“Secondly they say Canton cassia is $4.50 per picul and the duty is $6.50 per picul. This requires adjusting to not more than $2 per picul.

“They say the duty on camlets is also excessive.

“They say by these measures, the revenue will be increased and smuggling diminished.

“I, the Hoppo, note that imported camlets are cheap but the duty is expensive. This article is no longer legally traded. The Parsees request that the quantity restriction on silk exports be removed and the duties adjusted.

“I order that skin silk is to be charged for duty at the rate of 5th quality silk. The prices of cassia and camlets vary and the duty cannot be changed. The Hong merchants will enjoin this order on the Parsees.” 21st July

Editor – The Hoppo cannot vary the export duty as the tariff is set in Peking. What he has actually done is to reduce his own fees on raw silk and cassia, hoping to bring these items back within the revenue net. 5th quality raw silk may now be shipped at a duty of 6 taels per picul, cassia at $2.50 per picul. The Parsees have thus benefited the whole foreign trade by their petition.

Vol 8 No 30 – Tuesday 28th July 1835

Peking Gazettes, 16th May 1835:

Foo Yuen Chow Chi Kee of Kiangsu reports the case of Loo Yau Chu of Nan Fung Heen, who wears a gold button (kin sang) by purchase, and claims to have been cheated by Wang Suen, the cashiered Heen of Pang Tsih.

Loo previously borrowed 8,500 taels from Wang and had repaid some. Loo says Wang then borrowed 3,000 strings of cash and 200 taels from him and he asked Loo to buy a slave girl for him.

Having failed to receive his new concubine, Wang abducted Loo’s concubine and took back the note evidencing his debt. Wang has now disappeared.

The Foo Yuen requests the Emperor to order that the registers be examined and Wang found and brought to confront his accuser.

Vol 8 No 30 – Tuesday 28th July 1835

Singapore Chronicle – Another newspaper is expected to be published in Canton. The Editor, press and type faces were all brought to China on the Ruby from Calcutta. The new paper is intended to provide an alternative view to the Canton Register that is more representative of the other faction in the British community there.

Vol 8 No 30 – Tuesday 28th July 1835

American foreign trade, October 1833 – September 1834

Imports US$128,521,332

Exports US$104,346,973

Vol 8 No 31 – Tuesday 4th August 1835

The Viceroy and Foo Yuen have published an Edict. It enumerates the destructive fires that have occurred in Canton since 1819. These have all produced debris which has invariably been thrown in the river and accumulated along the banks.

On this new “land”, people have built all sorts of temporary structures, cementing the debris with river mud. Building on the river banks or permitting heaps of debris to accumulate is now proscribed by this Edict.

Vol 8 No 31 – Tuesday 4th August 1835

How Qua recently visited Arthur S Keating in the factories to warn him that warrants had been issued for the arrest of four Chinese for traitorous connections with foreigners.

They are accused of assisting Keating to print books in Chinese. How Qua says runners have been sent to Macau, where the four men live, to seize them.

Vol 8 No 31 – Tuesday 4th August 1835

Some of the people who wounded the Troughton crew and stole its cargo have been arrested and interrogated. They have a defence. They say the captain offered them $20,000 for assistance but after they had brought his ship to safety he failed to pay.

They were enraged at his bad faith and forcibly took the agreed sum, but nothing else. “We are not a gang of pirates. Had we been, we would have plundered the ship of all its cargo” they say.

Vol 8 No 33 – Tuesday 18th August 1835

An Edict of the Hoppo Pang dated 10th August:

“It is reported that some foreign ships upon coming into the river do not anchor at Whampoa but stop at other places like the 2nd bar.[271]

“I, the Hoppo, have checked the draft at Whampoa and it is adequate for foreign ships. There is sufficient depth and sufficient room. They are to stay at Whampoa where we can keep an eye on their activities. They are not to venture off to other places to carry on their furtive business. The tide waiters will inspect the river and list the foreign ships that are anchored in wrong places. The Hong merchants will transmit the orders of government to those ships. They may not break the law. If they continue to disobey I will stop their cargo operations.”

Vol 8 No 33 – Tuesday 18th August 1835

J N Daniell and T C Smith are the appointed Agents of the India Company at Canton.

Two ships (Hythe and Berwickshire) have recently been consigned to Daniell & Co, the trading name of J N Daniell in Canton. Visiting ships require money for daily expenses and crew wages which the local Agent provides.

Daniell and Smith also offer funding to Canton traders to finance their purchases of Chinese exports. The Company recovers its loan when the cargo is sold in England where it has become a leading participant in the Agency business. Their loan contracts give them a lien over the goods, require storage in the Company’s London warehouse and sale at the Company’s auctions.

In this way the Company is continuing to trade.

Vol 8 No 34 – Tuesday 25th August 1835

Calcutta Courier, 27th June – Five months ago we published the memorial of the British Chamber of Commerce in China against the Company’s Bills business at Canton. The arguments appeared weak to us but the Canton Register is satisfied, as so many traders signed the petition, that their arguments must be weighty. The Editor of Canton Register now requires us to refute the arguments in detail instead of ‘merely sneering’ at them.

This is easy, although we note in passing that he himself has not sought to evidence their expediency. We suppose he does not want to ruin a rotten case by too much commentary.

The Act of 1833 requires the Company to close its commercial business, sell its stores and effects (those items shown as assets in the commercial accounts), collect commercial debts, close its factories as they become redundant, and abstain from further commercial business that is 1/ not incidental to the closure of the business, or 2/ the conversion of property into cash or 3/ unrelated to the Government of India.

Concerning this last exception, one of the duties of the Company’s Government is to remit a large sum annually to England to pay for military stores, pensions to retired employees, dividends to shareholders and the like. How can the Company do this? As it is no longer allowed to trade, it must either send bullion, or buy London Bills in India, or sell Bills on India in London. All these activities are permitted by the 1833 law. It should make no difference whether the Bills are directly between London and Bengal or circuitously via Canton.

A second Canton Register complaint is inexpediency. Selling Bills in Canton is advantageous to the Company because it earns a better rate of exchange than either remitting specie or direct Bills. It is also advantageous because it does not diminish the supply of specie in India. It is advantageous to the China smugglers because it gives them a safe means of remitting profits. It is advantageous to the legal China trade because it permits them to expand their purchases threefold (A Bill clause permits drawing up to two thirds of the invoice value of the goods, effectively tripling the China traders’ purchasing power). If there was sufficient private capital in China to duplicate the Company’s Bills service then the company can do no business but this is not the state of things. There is demand for Company Bills and they steady the exchange rate and reduce commissions compared to private finance, which is the business the smugglers wish to exploit.

Without the Company’s Bills, the China trader is at the mercy of those well capitalised China traders in respect of the rates they charge for Bills. With the Company’s finance agency present, competition ensures the rates are more or less uniform.

We recall the outcry of the Agency houses in London, who inter alia transact these Bills. They feared they would lose their consignment business. Probably it is the same fear (of losing the profits on exchange) that motivates the China traders now. Overall we conclude that the Company’s Bills business in China is beneficial to trade.

Editor – the Editor of Calcutta Courier wishes to preserve Company power in China. The fact is that the Company is supposed to stop trading. If it uses its money to finance trade (and take a lien over the goods until repayment) they remain interested in the silks and teas that are being shipped – that is called trading.

The Company offers the best rates of exchange (208-206 as against 204 locally), the opium monopoly is encouraged by cheap exchange, the speculator trades to the extent of three times his capital. These are inducements to over-trading. The Company, instead of trading directly, appoints agents in China and finances them to trade on its behalf. This may be advantageous to the Company and to India for a while but are British manufacturers to be told there is no demand for their goods in China because the Chinese prefer Company silver?[272]

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

The new China newspaper, the Canton Press, will be published weekly every Saturday commencing 12th September. It will be free from partisan opinion. It will appear in two quarto sheets for $12 per annum. Its editorial and printing office is at 3 British Hong, Canton.

Editor – a new newspaper should facilitate understanding on both sides (Chinese and foreign). Our relations are presently confined to commerce. We foreign traders are exempted from Chinese punishments and torture. Neither do we receive demands for money to effect Chinese naval repairs. The newspapers should unite in our common purpose against our enemy (China).

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

Wong Chin Kau, a major in the Heung Shan Heen’s navy, has captured a fast crab and seized 159 chests of cassia and 23 bags of carnelians.

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

On 5th August a new Heen arrived at Yang Kiang with a retinue of some 90 people. It later transpired that the real Heen had arrived by boat and, while anchored in the river preparing to come ashore, another official-looking boat arrived alongside which occupants proposed a drinking party.

During the festivities the new arrivals poisoned the Heen and all his crew and assumed their identities.

They then entered upon the official duties of the Heen for several months until the brother-in-law of the murdered Heen visited Yang Kiang unexpectedly and saw a stranger drinking with a concubine of the real Heen’s.

On 30th August the whole group was arrested.

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

Letter to the Editor – The Company finances the China trade. It requires the goods it finances to be shipped to its own warehouses in England from whence it auctions them, raising separate fees for each service that it requires the merchant to use. Whether this trade is done to promote the government of British India or not (The Calcutta Courier’s rationale for it) it is still contrary to the spirit of the Act.

The effect of financing the trade here is to increase the capital available to buy Chinese goods. With more money chasing a predictable quantity of supply, the Company inevitably increases the prices of Chinese exports.

Secondly, why should the Chinese buyer barter British goods for his products when he can receive silver from the Company through this financing mechanism? The Company is reducing the exports of British factories to China.

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

Letter to the Editor – Your recital of events on a recent voyage to the east coast shows the impudence of the English. No wonder the Chinese consider us barbarians. The Chinese quite reasonably treated the foreigners as good–naturedly as they could, in the same way that we would treat an annoying drunk or madman.

It seems barbarians are always right even when they act with ill manners and contrary to international law. They self-satisfiedly attribute Chinese laughter to approbation when we all know it is due to embarrassment at our rudeness. Sgd Prince Puckler Muskau[273]

Editor – what does he know!

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

Letter to the Editor – I am an old Englishman living in Macau. I want to go to Canton for some business. One of the Parsees has agreed to smuggle me up but how do I get back? The Hoppo will want $36 for a red passport.

Sgd One in doubt.

Vol 8 No 35 – Tuesday 1st September 1835

Letter to the Editor – The heading on your paper (the quotation from Charles Grant that is printed on every masthead.[274]) asserts yours is a free and independent paper. Are you really independent? Is your journal a free one? Are you not bound to one faction and to one master?

You are a hypocrite.

You are supported by a party and constantly and repeatedly advance that party’s views. You foster the schism in our community. Until you become uncompromising and impartial in promoting the welfare of our community as a whole, your paper will be thrown away.

Sgd Veto

Editor – Veto is impertinent and foolish.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

Observations of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce on the Company’s Bills business in India and China:

A sovereign power should not compete with individuals in trade. This principle has been acknowledged in our law.

The Company makes advances, secured on Calcutta goods, consigned to Leadenhall Street (the Company’s head office). The rate of exchange is disproportionate to existing rates in London.

Now they have established a ‘finance committee’ at Canton to effect exchange operations there. They might soon do so in Manila, Batavia and other foreign countries.

The China trade is essentially a barter trade. The Company sells money and produces an excess of capital in Canton which enhances the prices of goods we buy to the advantage of the Chinese sellers and to the disadvantage of the British manufacturer. The Chinese trader has historically bartered his goods for ours. Now the Company has provided the liquidity to permit the Chinese merchant to take money for his goods. He no longer has to buy ours, which value is accordingly reduced.

Prior to starting the Bills business in China last August (1834) the exchange rate on London was 4/10d – 5/0d per Spanish dollar and on Bengal it was 204 Sicca Rupees per $100. By October the Company was advertising funds at 4/7d per dollar thus making the Bengal exchange rate 208 Sicca Rupees per $100. This caused the value of money in London to advance from 5½% to 7¼% and in Bengal to increase by about 2%.

Silk in August was $335 per picul but by October it was $380 per picul (+11%) at a time when the harvest was abundant and the prices should have been falling. Tea is equally affected while selling prices of British manufactures for China have concurrently decreased by 25%.

Some of the ‘finance committee’ are the sons of Company directors.

The ready availability of cheap money in China will increase speculation and cause recklessness. We would willingly invest in Bills business in China if the Company withdrew. The interests of India should be made compatible with the interests of England. As so much of the Company’s revenue must be remitted to England, the correct course would be to sell Bills from the treasury at Leadenhall Street and close the Treasuries in India and China. This will enable the company to receive what it needs without interfering with trade.

When the Company’s London Head Office issues Bills on Bengal they are invariably 60-day sight Bills. These Bills arrive in India about 4½ months after they are drawn. They are paid in India about 6½ months after they are drawn in London.

When Bengal issues Bills they are paid about 12 months later. This means the turnaround takes about 19 months. Most of the Company’s debt is issued at 5% per annum. These bills accordingly cost about 8+% between issue and return. Add the expenses of operating the agencies in India and China, say 2%. This halves the value of the Sicca Rupee in London (i.e. the equivalent to a Calcutta rate on London at 12 months of 2/1d per Sicca Rupee becomes in London 1/1½d per Sicca Rupee.)

In December 1833 the Company opened its Calcutta treasury for advances secured on goods consigned to Leadenhall Street at 2/1d per Sicca Rupee. At that time the London treasury was issuing Bills on Calcutta at 2/- per Sicca Rupee. The corresponding price here should have been about 1/10½d per Sicca Rupee but they in fact increased it to 2/1d, or 10% above what it should have been in consideration of their own prices in Calcutta. This naturally deterred investors paying money into Leadenhall Street.

This obstruction of the money-go-round can be removed by London issuing Bills on India at the fair rate and by closing the Bills business in India and China completely. When the treasury in China is closed, traders can apply in London for Bills on Bengal and Bombay which will allow them to place funds in China for tea and silk. British imports from China greatly exceed the value of our exports of manufactures and metals. Thus these Bills will be highly sought after in China to make remittance to India of the trade balance in silver drawn annually from China for cotton and opium. But while the Company funds the China trade at Canton, the exchange rate fluctuates following the company’s own interests and private capital is deterred from competing.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

Letter to the Editor – The Editor of a free and independent newspaper should routinely promote the interests of the entire community that he serves. He should oppose those monopolies that reserve to a few, the privileges that ought to be available to all. The money market in Canton is open to all.

Our community is now mainly comprised of people of little or no capital. The Company’s Bills Agency (which you derogatorily call the Finance Committee) is a benefit to their trade. Our two great commercial houses (Dents and Jardines) are enemies and you identify yourself with one of them.

You should consider the interests of the general public. The sole object of your editorials is effect, not here (that would be vain) but wherever your constituents may be.

Sgd Veto.

Editor – Veto is a radical.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

Local news – Kang, the Che Heen of Sun Wui has been sent in chains to Canton.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

Local news – Wang, the new criminal judge, patrols Canton city at night and has discovered gambling dens, brothels and opium divans. These places will in future be closed at 9 pm.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

Asiatic Journal – The silver cup presented to Plowden by 11 Hong merchants when he left China was made by M/s Braithewaite and Jones of Cockspur Street, London. It is 26.5” high and decorated with a Chinese scene.

We published the inscription previously. This was the first occasion that a foreigner received a present from the Chinese.

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

On 14th April 1835 an auction was held to sell the Company’s warehouses at Crutched Friars and Billiter Street (this latter address is the warehouse for India Company employees’ private trade). Both were sold at good prices to the East India Dock Company (a related Company – it’s a documentary transfer).

Vol 8 No 36 – Tuesday 8th September 1835

A long letter signed by Lord Ellenborough, President of the Board of Control (the government department that seeks to regulate the India Company), is recited justifying the Company’s Bills business and declining to stop it.

Vol 8 No 37 – Tuesday 15th September 1835

Letter to the Editor – I have been in China only a couple of months. Whenever I asked about some individual or other, the invariable answer includes the comment ‘he is a Jardinite’ or ‘he is a Dentite’. Unanimity is not a British characteristic and where there is disunion there is faction.

You, Mr Editor, support the few against the many. The finance committee, which fills a role your ‘few’ wish to fill, is opposed by you on the grounds of ‘property’ against ‘numbers’. This puts ‘property’ in competition with ‘person’, rich against poor, unprincipled speculator against honest merchant.

The only people who signed the petition against the Company’s Bills business were J M & Co, its employees and satellites.

Sgd Veto.

Vol 8 No 38 – Tuesday 22nd September 1835

Our Chinese informant tells us the Foo Yuen has been presented with a likeness of the To Kwong Emperor. His head is uncovered, his ears very long and his face very brown. The Cantonese say his complexion became dark after he became addicted to opium. Perhaps it is a joke?

Vol 8 No 38 – Tuesday 22nd September 1835

We have occasionally mentioned the piracy of the Troughton. Many people, including women and children, have been arrested. Old China Hands say that, had a Chinese junk been similarly attacked, its owners could have expected little official support, but Governor Loo is giving us special service in ordering his men to arrest the offenders and recover the property.

The officers of the district where the piracy occurred were deprived of rank until they should arrest the offenders. The officials have been seizing all new dollars in the area on suspicion they came from the ship. In this way some innocent people have been implicated in the crime and lost their property.

A further strange coincidence is an observation of the survivors who returned via the Chinese office at Casa Branca (near the barrier across the peninsula, north of Macau). They noted the regulation weapons of the Chinese army in garrison there were precisely similar to those used by the thieves. They accordingly wonder if the military was involved with the local people in the piracy.

Vol 8 No 38 – Tuesday 22nd September 1835

The recent expedition up the Min River has revealed to officials outside Kwangtung that there was a foreigner on the boat (Gutzlaff) who speaks and writes Chinese. It was hitherto assumed (except in Canton) that foreigners cannot learn Chinese and that traitorous Chinese were responsible for all woes.

Worse, in speaking of the English King, Gutzlaff used the same honorific as is used for the Ching Emperor.

Since August there has been a search for and persecution of those Chinese who teach foreigners their language or transcribe English books.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

A placard in the Hoppo’s office announces the creation of a new Hong merchant – Fu Tai. The firm has four partners of whom Yih Shon Ching is precedent. Its office is opposite New China Street. We hear another Hong called Hup Wo has been approved but it is not yet gazetted.

A new Linguist is also appointed. He is known to us as Young Heen, the same as Ah Heen’s son. His trade name is Yuen Fu and official name Tsoi Chun.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

The Viceroy’s health has deteriorated and his seals have been passed to the Foo Yuen. He has long suffered from painful feet which appears to be a form of gout. The Cantonese call it jao fung geok – ‘wine & wind feet’. He died on 4th September, reportedly of constipation. He was offered rhubarb but declined it as too strong and took a ginseng infusion instead but it was ineffective.

He leaves a widow, three concubines and three sons. His youngest son works in the Governor’s office. Loo came from Shantung.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

Imperial Edict – officers are placed close to the people in the chow and heen districts to catch thieves and resolve disputes but the cases are delayed and their duty is neglected. The disputes remain unresolved and all sorts of swindling ensues. Official messengers and domestic servants unite to trick the people out of their money. Evidence is not preserved and half the defendants die in custody. The officials are too indulgent to the police. Domineering magistrates terrify plaintiffs and turn small matters into big ones. The police support the thieves in return for monthly payments and they seem to have nothing to fear.

Police evidence must be examined closely and no indulgence shown to corruption. The Foo Yuen of each Province is ordered to exert himself and dismiss magistrates failing in their duty. Punish the worst cases with severity.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

Editorial – Chinese Officials conceive that Britain has affronted them – our occupation of Macau in 1808, the discussions of 1813-14, Lord Amherst’s embassy and its conduct in Peking, the Lintin affair of 1821 – all these were confrontational actions that should have provoked our ejection from the middle kingdom.

But their complaints are groundless, their reasoning false and their threats ridiculous. These strange people make pockets in their boots, wear fans in their girdles and carry snuff in narrow-mouthed bottles. They eschew cravats, mount horses from the left and start work before daylight.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

The Canton (American) Chamber of Commerce has published American export figures from China for 23rd April 1834 – 30th Septemer 1835

Black tea
Green tea
42,590,000 lbs
8,489,200 lbs
1,849 bales

Of this 42,787 chests of black and 125,119 chests of green tea were shipped to USA for the domestic market.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

Editorial – The Canton Press has now issued three numbers. It is funded by the Company’s ‘Finance Committee’ and is not editorially independent. It promotes the Company’s unlawful trade in money.

Vol 8 No 39 – Tuesday 29th September 1835

Letter to the Editor – The Thomas Coutts arrived from Bombay and all the letters to European residents were sent up by a Macau ferry but not one Parsee has yet received any of his correspondence.

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

The advice from Chinese friends is that now the Viceroy has died it is necessary for any claimants in the Troughton piracy to resubmit their claims to the Foo Yuen. They say a replacement Viceroy is not obliged to continue his predecessor’s extra-judicial attempts to reimburse our losses.

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

At midnight on the 4th day 8th moon, four pirate boats anchored off the east gate of Canton. About 100 pirates landed and stole several thousand dollars from a money changer in Hoi Pong Kai (Waterfront Street). The Poon Yu Heen has been petitioned to take up the case.

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Edict of Viceroy Loo to How Qua and the other Hongs:

“We have received an Imperial edict noting that Lo Sum, the Foo Yuen of Fukien has sent to Peking two books in Chinese that were prepared by foreigners. The Emperor notes they contain quotations from the five classics thus assuredly they were not printed by foreigners who only come here for trade. The foreigners trade at Canton but this book comes from Fukien. How can the foreigners send it so far? This book must have been produced by traitorous Chinese. The governor and Foo Yuen of Fukien will commence secret enquiries, identify the printer and examine him. We need to know who prepared the book, who gave it to the printer for printing, and everything else about its provenance. Send copies of the book to the Viceroy, Foo Yuen and Hoppo at Canton for their information.

“We, the Viceroy of the Two Kwong and Foo Yuen of Canton, have examined the books and note they are produced entirely in the Chinese style. The foreigners come for trade. Certainly the printer is a traitorous Chinese who has linked with the foreigners to print their books. We have ordered the officers to find the printer, seize the printing blocks and obtain the facts by grinding torture. We have enjoined the officers to absolute secrecy so that the traitors are not forewarned and thus able to conceal themselves.”

“I the Hoppo seeing these important instructions enjoin them on the Hong merchants to examine and inform me by petition. They may not evade their duty.”

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Wang, the criminal judge of Canton, has proclaimed a prohibition on litigiousness:

“Court officials league together for extortion by frightening and oppressing genuine litigants. Swindlers unite with court officials to dupe country people.

“False accusation is criminal. The man who sows discord and his followers are all guilty. They will all be banished to the frontiers as slaves of the army.

“If literary graduates assist in preparing false or vague claims they will lose their buttons and receive a heavier sentence. Meritless litigation for extortion must be stopped.

“In Canton there is a class of swindler who stirs up contention. Disputes over a chicken or a piglet are transformed into serious matters. By bringing the matters before the courts they obtain a share of the damages awarded. The swindlers sometimes represent both parties to ensure their success. They transfer the farmer’s hard-earned wealth to themselves, ruin his family and injure the ability of the administration to govern. These villains present cases that appear superficially straightforward and, by hiding the whole truth from the Court, bring its decisions into disrepute.

“Any one who recognises that these comments are applicable to him, let him reform early, purify his heart and not again degrade himself. Otherwise, the deepest sorrow and calamity will eventually fall upon him. I will cleave to the law as to a rock and no indulgence will be shown.”

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – The minority party of foreign traders in China have appealed to the Superintendents to resolve the problem over delayed postal deliveries. We invite our more powerful brethren to reform this abuse.

Sgd Post Office

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – the detention of letters in Macau has become notorious. The trade of those merchants whose letters are delayed is damaged. Now the matter has been published it is becoming worse. Markwick has undertaken to be postmaster and he should do his job properly. Prior to this new system of Napier’s, letters were occasionally held back but overall it was not too bad. Captains or pursers would frequently bring up the mail to Canton in a fast boat directly after arrival.

There is no good reason why letters should go to Macau. If the Superintendents have to be involved they should station a man at Kum Sing Mun[275] to sort their own letters for Macau and permit the remainder to instantly continue on to Canton. I hear a committee was appointed in Canton to deal with postal delay. It should be censured for negligence. Sgd Reform

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – I am one of those unlucky fellows sent out by the Glasgow weavers and Leeds manufacturers to sell printed cottons and woollen goods and buy tea and silk. My employers believe the Company’s monopoly has ended. I have told them that the Company is more dreaded today than ever. I was relieved to learn that others share this view.

After 18-24 months of blunder from London I was despairing of justice. Please keep publishing the facts and tell my father, who sent me here, that the Company is trading stronger than ever, even if only in printed paper.

My friend Sam Qua tells me Bills are a wonderful invention which he much prefers to my cottons and woollens and I can find nothing to offer in trade that might compete. My father told me that the Company formerly bought much cotton and woollen goods for this market but I suppose at that time the attractions of the printed paper trade had not been discovered.

I infer from Sam Qua that we can keep our goods at home and our “number one good heart Company’s gentlemen” can in future do all the “trade pigeon” between China and England. If the present situation continues for another year I expect he will be right.

Sgd Jacob Faithfull Jr, Macau, 26th September 1835

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – You reported the recent mutiny on the Danish ship Syden (Burd) and proposed that the Captain request the commander of HMS Raleigh for assistance. Captain Burd has Royal authority to fly the Danish flag and that country has its own shipping law. Why should he not report to the Danish navy?

The officers of the British Royal Navy are brave and good fighters. They can best assist merchants by attacking pirates. They do not have a role in the domestic affairs of Denmark. Why should the nationals of other countries kowtow to England. The right of search on the high seas that Britain asserts should have ended with the war (in 1815). Independent countries are free to act as they please.

Sgd ‘A man going down to Jericho’

Editor – I advised Burd thus because the mutiny occurred in Chinese waters and all the other European nations lamentably and disgracefully submit to China. China treats us with contempt and excludes us from her Courts. The Danish Consul (Matheson) is British, Burd is British, and many of the Syden crew are Asiatic subjects of Britain. The Superintendents are not acknowledged by either China or Portugal. To whom can Burd appeal? The sloop HMS Raleigh was crippled in the recent typhoon but she still has her crew, her marines and her boats. Britain is a superior nation. We do not understand why our correspondent finds our advice offensive.

Vol 8 No 40 – Tuesday 6th October 1835

The Englishman, Calcutta 17th July 1935 (recited in the Friend of India):

Dr Wallick, the superintendent of the Bengal Botanic Garden, is about to leave Calcutta to investigate the possibilities of developing a tea crop here. It is surprising and mortifying that all our previous efforts have failed and we continue to be at the mercy of a barbarous people for the supply of an important commodity. This single circumstance has enabled the capricious despots of China to dominate us. Their insolence jars with our unrivalled dignity in India and other Asian countries. For considerations of national honour and commercial policy, the Company court directed the Indian government two years ago to ascertain which parts of the Empire were suitable for tea farming.

Mr Gordon investigated in India before going to China to learn how the shrub is cultivated and how the leaf is processed into tea. He obtained valuable information whilst in the heart of the tea district and has employed several Chinese experts whom he has taken back to India to commence the business.

Meanwhile a type of tea plant has been discovered growing wild at Suddiya in our newly acquired territory of Assam which lies nearest to China. Major Grant whilst touring Munipore discovered the plant growing luxuriantly over a large tract of hilly country.[276] It seems that the hills of our eastern frontier are the place to grow tea and this is where Dr Wallich is going. In a few years we can anticipate an extensive cultivation of teas within our own lands. This will assist the languid exports of India. The recent law permitting Europeans to settle anywhere in British India will facilitate development. Assam was annexed only earlier this century and the Company has hitherto restricted residence by permit. The climate is beautiful – just like an English summer – and Europeans should be encouraged to settle. If we can produce our own tea it will be every bit as good at half the price. This will put it within reach of the native Indians.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

The American ship Morrison arrived here 4th October from New York and brought two protestant Episcopal missionaries – Hanson and Lockwood – to join the China Mission. We welcome them. Their first duty will be to learn Chinese. America is now foremost in missionary activity in China.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

On the night of 6th October, Wang the criminal judge, whilst patrolling Yung Kwong Street behind the factories, found some men playing dice. His attendants raced in and the gamblers scattered in all directions but four were caught and received twenty blows each on the spot before being released.

The junior civil and military officers and all the people are terrified of Wang.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

The reputation of our late Viceroy Loo was not good. He was formerly well considered when Foo Yuen here but, on his return as Viceroy, that reputation evaporated. Loo relied too much on the advice of his name sake Loo Wan Kin, the Hong merchant Mow Qua of Kwong Lei Hong (ridiculed by the foreigners as ‘Bardolph,’ the thief employed by Falstaff is several Shakespearean plays).

Loo Wan Kin was widely perceived to be a bad man. It was thus assumed the Viceroy must be one too – at least that is the street-talk. After Viceroy Loo’s death, it transpired that the provincial treasury was short by 300,000 taels. The Kwongchow Foo, the Hoppo and the united Salt and Hong merchants have each contributed 100,000 taels to make-up the deficiency.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

8th moon 15th day is Jung Chau Jeet, Mid-Autumn Festival (the autumn equinox) when the moon appears bigger and brighter than at any other time of the year.

From 1st – 15th days of the month the bakeries make only moon cakes. These have a round shape to resemble the moon. There are three types. Soo Beng is made with goosefat; Ngan Pei Beng is a hard-skinned cake and Yuen Pei Beng is a soft-skin cake.

The smallest cakes weigh about 4 taels but a large Ngan Pei Beng may weigh 5 catties. The largest Yuen Pei Beng is about 1 Catty. Only the Yuen Pei Beng is undecorated, the others have ornamental designs impressed on them. All three types contain either salt or sweet fillings. They are often exchanged as presents between families.

Prior to the festival the people burn the three types of joss-stick and sacrifice the cakes to their gods. They then invite relations and friends to join in drinking and eating through the night. It is called Sheung Yuet (delight in moonlight). Females also participate but they ho yuet (congratulate the moon) and may not sheung yuet. Lanterns are hoisted on long bamboos to honour the moon by imitation.

The common saying is that the female deity in the moon presides over human marriages. This persuades women to worship her and request for marriage and children. It is a country-wide festival but is particularly popular in Canton.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

On 29th June it was reported that the Emperor’s coach house had been burgled and three golden buttons from the tops of His umbrellas and two other golden decorations had been stolen. Everyone connected with the coach house has been arrested for questioning. The Board of Punishments has suggested that the officers-in-charge be punished for negligence.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

The Manchu Emperor claims a natural ascendancy over humanity that is unique. It is the sovereignty of a father over his children. He is called Tien Chee (Son of Heaven) and his land (which notionally comprises the entire planet) is Tien Ha (below Heaven). If we would only repent and recognise the superiority of Chinese civilisation, we can be accepted into His care. Then the World will be tranquillised and bickering will cease. But if we do not repent we will remain on the periphery of civilisation and unable to enter into its delights.

Most of the features of Chinese civilisation are adopted by the rulers of other Asian countries and in the next few editions we will consider them in turn:

Sind, from Lieutenant Burnes’ travels to Bokhara – “We visited the Indus unannounced and sent a letter to the Emirs at Karachi explaining our purposes. A day later a search party of 50 soldiers arrived to examine our boats, breaking open everything. The officer said we should return to the river mouth and await instructions from Hyderabad before continuing. Some Baluchis fired over our heads to intimidate us.” Burnes applied to the Sind authorities and to Colonel Henry Pottinger, the British Resident at Kutch (on the Gujerat border with Sind. One of Pottinger’s duties is preventing the export of Malwa opium down the Nerbuda River to Damaun – his qualification for service in China later), and this latter gentleman obtained a friendly letter from the Emir. It professed the impossibility of navigating the Indus by boat but did not contain an outright refusal to permit this attempt. Burnes then entered the river by another of its many mouths and send another note informing the officials at Karachi. The messenger received no reply but Burnes learned that an official had been dismissed for permitting Burnes’ previous entry to the river. He said we were not permitted to land nor receive water or supplies. Later when our water was exhausted, Burnes sent a small boat up-river but it was seized and the watering party detained. Burnes later learned from the British Agent at Hyderabad that the Emir feared he (Burnes) was the precursor of an army. He finally decided not to permit the voyage but did not know how to retract his previous agreement.

Editor – does not this duplicate the experience of Napier going to Canton? The Emir makes promises that are mere pretence. He agrees to provide water and food while it is in fact withheld. The officer who allows the boat entry is dismissed for negligence. Threats are made but not carried out. Parties sent ashore are detained. This experience in Sind duplicates what would have happened at Canton. Unless we are backed by moral or physical force, our remonstrations are useless.

Burnes persevered and, after another remonstrance from Pottinger, obtained the offer of passage through Sind by land. “This was the first opening we had obtained so I seized it and set off a third time for the Indus. Pottinger meanwhile advised the Emir that I was coming and that a land passage to Lahore was impossible. He also complained the previous attitude of the Emir was unfriendly particularly as I (Burnes) was carrying gifts from the King of England.” On arrival at the mouths of the Indus, Burnes was met by an official who reiterated no ships could enter the river and we were to be confined to our boats and again denied fresh water. Burnes decided to adopt the suggested but difficult land route which he could use to reach the Emir and discuss the matter. As soon as he set-off on foot the officials released the boats and permitted them to sail up-river. He was soon informed and instructed his boatmen to remain where they were. After three days he received permission to proceed by boat.

Editor – this duplicates Napier’s treatment. Burnes’ boats were boarded and everything wrenched open to search; Napier and his suite had their baggage broken open, even as the servants were unlocking the cases.[277]Burnes was told to await a decision at the river mouth; Napier to reside at Macau until the Imperial will was known. Burnes was threatened with 4,000 soldiers; Napier with destruction by Imperial forces. Burnes remonstrated in vain, as did Napier. Finally the Emir became reasonable and asserted the impossibility of navigating the Indus; Governor Loo reasoned with Napier on the impossibility of breaking the luminous laws of China. After all these measures had been tried and found unavailing, resort was had by both to denial of provisions and water and an embargo.

Some say we complain of non-existent hardships and seek for unnecessary privileges. Are the advantages of commerce so great that they justify restraint of our personal liberty, the prevention of our communication with the Chinese people, the liability of our servants to be punished for nothing? Is not the Hong monopoly a hardship for commerce, the control constantly exercised over us, our fleecing by every grade of official, by Hong merchant and by Linguist a hardship? The charges on imports and exports in excess of real duties are hardships. Is the acquirement of independence, freedom, respectability and equality with native merchants a privilege or a right? Is the attainment of a fixed tariff of duties not a right? Is the redress of official corruption not a right? Everyone interested in our political and commercial relationship with China must consider these questions.

Turkey – Slade’s Travels in Turkey – The Ottoman Porte sits at Constantinople and appoints fanatical dragomans to liaise with foreigners in the provinces of his Empire. They constantly misrepresent foreign intentions and keep the Porte in ignorance of our real attitude towards him. Some of the British consuls and most of the vice-Consuls in the Mediterranean are Italians! This is like the Manchu Emperor and His provincial government at Canton.

Editor – Since Morrison’s arrival in 1808 we have done better than before and better than we do in Turkey where British policy is misunderstood and British traders neglected. The dragomans consider themselves nobility. When they are in procession they do not return bows. They only deviate right or left when confronted with a beggar, a sleeping dog or a puddle. A coterie of Greeks and Italians make up this body of dragomans and serve the embassies of European powers. They intermarry and unite to serve. One cannot ignore their power. They know so many secrets that, should they be discontented, they might unitedly withdraw and serve another government. They affect to speak only French so a double interpretation is necessary. They misinterpret the words of their ambassador making all negotiations useless. And they require continual payment although they may be known to be delinquent in their duty. They are in fear only of the Porte. The local dragoman of France has been made a French citizen. Russia’s dragoman is ignored by that power – she takes the diplomatic line “do as I say or I’ll hit you” – and thus gets everything she requires. Austria always sends an ambassador who understands the local language which is a progressive step and avoids reliance on her dragoman. We should emulate it. Our character is respected in Turkey. There is an expression in circulation there and in Persian – ‘an Englishman never lies’.

A splendid work on Turkey is by Urquhart:

“Our ancient institutions allowed some individuals to control others (pre-feudalism). When control was united with responsibility it was admirable. But our foreign policy was to look on the foreigner as a hostage and commerce as prey. This resulted in restrictions and laws that neutralised our natural advantages and placed barriers between nations. Our harbours are mined with fiscal intricacies and an anti-social spirit infected our commercial system. It does not harmonise with the enlightenment and urbanity that characterises the individuals and nations upon whom the system operates.

“When feudalism divided men into owners and property, hospitality was erased from our national character. Then Christianity united us with some nations and set us more firmly against others. Aliens were taxed like goods, their property was detained, they were capriciously fined, their inheritance at death was legally seized (a law which was only recently repealed) and it was said of them that ‘no man could sin against them’. What can be expected of commercial legislation enacted in such a period?

“In the east, the right to hospitality was preserved. Merchants enjoyed the rights of guests. If a powerful chief plundered a visitor, his host became his avenger. In the lands of the Turks and the Saracens the exchange of commodities is the only right respected and hospitality the only obligation observed.

“The Turkish economy is simple and creates prosperity but more importantly commerce in Turkey is readily intelligible. There are no fluctuations to fear, no fictitious credit is created. Neither consumer nor producer is dependent on powerful capitalists operating in between them. There is no effecting of transfers, running risks, circumventing gratuitous obstacles (all of which increase prices and accumulate wealth in the hands of the intermediaries). Freedom of exchange of goods prevents great gains and great losses. No-one is excluded. Competition diminishes difficulties, expenses and profits. Prices relate to the labour expended, its transport cost and the commercial exchange.

“Notwithstanding bandits, Eastern commerce extends from North Africa to the Pacific, without banks, insurance, post offices, canals and roads, and unprotected by law, or courts, or Consuls.

“When a caravan arrives and the camels are unladen, there are bales from everywhere with markings in exotic languages. It is an eloquent contradiction of our preconceived notions of despotism and insecurity in the East. Our goods are avidly sought. Birmingham over Indian muslins, Glasgow over Golconda chintzes, Sheffield over Damascus steel, English broadcloth over Cashmere shawls. Seeing their vibrant commercial spirit makes me regret the gulf that has so long divided east from west.

“The earlier nomadic habits are still apparent. Pilgrimages are a religious obligation, hospitality a duty (and a privilege). The connection of commerce with religion is not extraordinary. The arrival of a caravan relieved immediate needs and removed the local surpluses. It is a rapturous time and the benefits of commerce were universally understood. Religion made sacred that which was useful. The annual games of Apollo were the great commercial fairs of Greece. The consecration of land for temple use secures title in Turkey to this day. Hajjis and fakirs are merchants; their religious character protects their goods. All great pilgrimages produced trade fairs.[278] Commerce was sacred even when distinct from religion. The piety of a Turk is expressed in building a bridge or planting a shade tree but most commonly in constructing a shop. The Turkish shop of solid stone with its iron gates protects commerce from thief and fire and the spacious courts within are for all men of every quality, condition or religion. The poorest has the same room as the richest.

“Anarchy has from time to time destroyed commerce but on the return of tranquillity there is always a return of commerce. Occasionally it is free of all tax but usually there are transit tolls to pay. This simplicity and the absence of legislation is apparent in the trader’s records. He keeps one book. No credit is given, no Bills discounted, no bonds, no receipts. Sales are for money or goods – no fictitious capital is created, no risk of bankruptcy arises. A prosperous merchant with say £20,000 will likely not even have a clerk. He sits on his carpet, his elbow on his cash box, which is at once his bank and counting house.

“The merchant travelling by caravan in reality runs few risks and incurs only trifling expenses. He lodges safely and without cost in a Han. He is never alarmed by fluctuations in price. He is free of agents and brokers. He brings his goods or his money, examines what he wants and makes exchange accordingly. He will not make a fortune but he adequately finances his life and is rewarded for his industry. Very little capital is required. He needs no licences, no connections – merely industry, intelligence, perseverance and frugality. No matter how small his profits, if his expenses are less, he is on the way to wealth.

“As Sir William Temple said of the merchants of Antwerp ‘they furnish infinite luxury, which they never practice, and traffic in pleasures which they never taste.’”

Editor – our English law seems to have been perverted. Instead of hosts protecting guests they have become statutorily responsible for their debts, actions, crimes and penalties, once the guest has received hospitality for two days.

India – This country restricts the transit of goods and operates an onerous Customs House system

South America – We have Consuls and vice-Consuls in every state but it has been H M ships that protect our trade and H M Officers who mediate our disputes.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

1st June 1835 was the date of the second sale of the Company’s tea stock at East India House. In March it offered 6,000,000 lbs. This time it sold 4,000,000 lbs. Much interest was shown by the trade as free trade teas have been largely imported and it was hoped that some bargain prices might be obtained. However a note was sent around indicating upset prices for the proposed September sale would be 20-25% less that those now. This announcement was understood as whatever was bought now would be devalued in three months and detracted from the apparent profitability of bidding. Tea wholesalers were surprised and complained but to no avail. The Company Directors said they must be able to compete with the free trade teas.

Vol 8 No 41 – 13th October 1835

The Chinese eschew bull-fighting on grounds of cruelty and they resist cock-fighting because it depreciates the value of the cock. They prefer cricket-fighting. Crickets eat the crops and are the farmers’ enemy. Midsummer is the time. The crickets are collected in huge numbers from the hillsides and sold in the city for 1 cash up to several dollars. All classes of people engage in this gambling and hundreds of thousands of dollars are wagered annually. A cricket needs no encouragement to attack another and the fight continues until one or other is dead.

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

On 16th October a report circulated Canton that the youngest son of our late Viceroy Loo left Canton in 7th moon for Shantung (the family’s native province) carrying several hundred balls of opium in his baggage. It was reportedly part of the opium seized by the Tei Tuk in 5th and 6th moons.

The nature of young Loo’s secret cargo became known. 100 robbers collected on the river at Sam Shui, on the border with Nam Hoi, to plunder him. They escaped with over 100 balls and some money and clothes, etc.

A report has been made but the opium cannot be mentioned in it. Not one of the thieves has been arrested.

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

An Imperial Edict has arrived dated 3rd August stating that Soo Lee Tang Ko has been appointed Manchu-General of Kwangtung and will arrive in early November.

On Sunday 18th October a report arrived from Shiu Kwan (north Kwangtung) saying the old Tartar General Ha, who is en route to Peking by boat for re-assignment, was plundered on 29th September but no other details are available.

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – We should all unite to demand a fixed tariff on our trade. If the Hong Yung (Consoo Fund) was a legal charge How Qua, who manages it, would discuss it. He does not tell us anything meaningful so it must be illegal. Unless the Fund is annually replenished, the Hongs cannot compensate for their continual business failures nor satisfy the rapacity of provincial officials.

Official birthdays, victories, defeats, rebellions, floods and earthquakes all claim on the Fund. The demands are endless and How Qua merely negotiates the best deals he can. The foreign trade underwrites the Consoo Fund but its usual application has no connection with trade.

This is an onerous charge of 3-6% on all imports and exports which upholds a monopoly which might otherwise have collapsed. We should strenuously protest against payment. Sgd A Spectator

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

Editorial – The Canton Press of 3rd October (the newspaper of the Company / Dent / Parsee faction of Indian interests at Canton), has a letter from Crito objecting to the petition of British merchants to H M Government. This petition was kept at Fox, Rawson & Co (the oldest agency house in Canton) for signature. I went to sign it and talked with Fox. He did not sign the petition for his own reasons but neither did he disapprove it.

Crito says there are 86 Britons in China (according to the Anglo-Chinese Calendar for 1835) of whom 35 names were appended to the petition.

We have looked in the Calendar. Exclusive of Parsees, there are only 73 Britons listed. At that time A P Boyd, R Edwards, R Inglis, W Thompson and R Wilkinson were all absent from China reducing the possible number of signatories to 68. If we exclude the two Company Agents and Daniells (who does the Company’s trade), the four clerks who work for them and the Chinese secretary to the Superintendents who is obliged to conform to his master’s wishes. That leaves 60 possible signatories. We should add four more Britons, two afloat and two ashore, who signed the petition but are not listed in the Calendar as residents. Thus the total resident British population at the time was 64 of whom 35 Britons signed the petition.

The residents who did not sign were T Allport, A E Campbell, R H Cox, J Cragg, L Dent, W H Foster, T A Gibb, W H Harton, J Henry, J Ilberry, F Ilberry, W Leslie, H W MacCaughey, A McCulloch, W MacKenzie, J Reeves, P Stewart, J C Whiteman, J Bayliss, G Chinnery, J Cliff, J Crockett, J Hadley, T H Layton, W McKay and W Porteous – 26 names. Not all these people opposed the petition, indeed we think at least seven are sympathetic. That leaves no more than 19 people in the opposing group.

Be that as it may, the actual numbers are irrelevant. We have a right to petition and the numbers petitioning do not establish the rightness of the proposals. There can be no doubt the petitioners represented the bulk of British trade in China. Only the representatives of two firms did not sign. The head of one of these firms (Lancelot Dent) was present when the petition was signed by others and he seemed not precisely opposed to it. The other firm (Daniell & Co) can never justify its opposition. As for the Parsees we have no idea why they en masse did not sign. If any one of them would explain it we should be obliged.[279]

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – there is an animal called a skunk which, when threatened by a predator, exudes a foul smell making itself unattractive as food.

The Company belongs to this genus. It should have died but the Directors ignore the facts and linger. We simply commiserate with them ‘the losing gambler has a right to grumble’. Sgd Leo

Vol 8 No 42 – Tuesday 20th October 1835

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China held its first AGM on 19th October. Wetmore was in the chair. Present were the Reverends Hanson, Lockwood, P Parker and E C Bridgman and the merchants W Jardine, R Inglis, W S Wetmore, J Innes, DWC Olyphant, Alex Matheson, G R Sampson, J Slade, A Johnstone, W MacKenzie, W McKilligan, W Bell, J Henry, R Turner, Framjee Pestonjee and S W Williams. The following information is published:

“The Society was formed to provide information on Western science and technology to the Chinese. The wants and productions of China are great and have caused extensive commerce. This will likely long continue. We have not yet produced anything for the Chinese. The delay in publication has been occasioned by the need to invent new characters to describe things and processes as yet unknown in China. For example, the explication of steam power and western laboratory procedure were particularly difficult. We need first to agree a standard nomenclature.

“Three works are in process of publication – a history of the World, a geography and a World map. The history is in three volumes, the geography in one. The map is 8’ x 4’ and projects a view of all the World’s nations. We expect to publish all in the coming year.

“For the interim we will publish 1,000 copies of Gutzlaff’s Chinese Magazine in two volumes for Chinese in Batavia, Singapore, Malacca, Penang and India.

“We have investigated the possibility of using metal type faces. M Pauthier in Paris and Reverend Dyer in Penang are making metal type faces by using punches. This is inexpensive and produces a good likeness equal to the best Chinese wood-block publications.

“Three works have been presented to us. James Matheson has provided a treatise on political economy translated by Gutzlaff; J R Morrison a geographical and astronomical work written by a Chinese student of the Jesuits and also the Four Books.

“The committee wishes not to locate its press in China where it may be interrupted and will probably print in Malacca.”

Jardine rose and proposed, seconded by Innes, that ‘this meeting regrets the present abeyance of the Chinese press (c.f. the Imperial edict about foreign-produced Chinese books) and will secure publication at Malacca or Lintin’. Innes said ‘the foreign-produced texts had moved the Emperor to attempt censorship. We should not be discouraged but contrarily recognise it as a sign of the power of the written word and proceed with printing in Malacca or Lintin.’

Inglis proposed the Chinese printers at Malacca should be asked to print the Society’s standard London texts – elementary educational works – and Gutzlaff’s magazine. He noted that distribution in China would be hazardous to our Chinese employees and recalled the fate of Roman Catholic missionaries in both China and Japan. He recommended great caution.

Reverend Parker, seconded by Jardine, noted that the Chinese held Gutzlaff’s magazine in high esteem. He said some Chinese regretted our delayed progress. He thought that the overseas Chinese would become the main agency of getting books into China. He said it is necessary to print the author’s and publisher’s names, as anonymous books were suspected by Chinese. He recalled that we are all placed on Earth to carry out God’s work and we recognise this obligation and that every human being has a claim on God’s help through us. The effects of our work will ameliorate the oppression which Chinese endure and we should proceed quickly and efficiently.

It was then unanimously resolved that the committee consider affixing the Society’s name to every work it published.

The incoming committee was then balloted. Jardine President, Russell Sturgis vice-President, R Inglis Treasurer, Reverends Bridgman and Gutzlaff Chinese secretaries, J R Morrison English secretary plus J C Green and R Turner members.

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

Local news – On 23rd October a Buddhist monk was executed. He came from Shiu Kwan where he lives in a temple outside the east gate. He housed a gang of thieves undetected in his temple for several years. Then some money changers outside the east gate were robbed and the soldiers, in hot pursuit of the thieves, discovered the refuge. The priest had for long been able to preserve the theft proceeds by representing them to have been donations from the faithful.

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

On the night of 23rd October the residents of Loo Tei Lane in Canton hired two blind singers to entertain them. Later two chairs arrived to take the girls home. Even later two more chairs arrived to take the girls away and it was realised the first two chairs were unauthorised.

A widespread search failed to locate either of the girls and their friends are desirous of ransoming them but no approach for money has yet been made. It is feared they have already been sold.

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

An Imperial Edict of 4th August has been received:

“My family employs astronomers for divination and prognostics. They select auspicious days for national ceremonies. They have chosen 21st and 28th days of 9th moon for the interment of the two empresses (former consorts of the Emperor).

“I found the 28th is a ping (even, common) day and chose the 21st. Then I found that day lacks concord. I had asked King Ching (President of the Mathematics Board responsible for the astronomers) to carefully calculate and advise Us when the ceremonies should be conducted and he has made a great mistake. Worse he has neither confessed nor asked forgiveness. He must be mad.

“His peacock’s feather is plucked out, he is degraded to the third rank and dismissed from the public service to work in the interior of the palace but he will continue responsible for the astronomers to see if he can redeem himself. All the other officers responsible for astronomers are to be severely punished. The Privy Council will consult with the Board of Rites and the astronomers and select a new day for the interments.”

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

The Imperial clan comprises about 6,000 people. They could personally fill all the principal offices of the Empire but whilst nepotism is endemic in China it is absent in the Imperial palaces. It seems to be this dynasty’s policy to abase the royal family so the Emperor is more conspicuous. The royal family is totally restrained by complex regulations and can do little. They are subject to law through a special tribunal which can award heavy punishments. Their involvement in high policy is considered treason. Many a prince has been exiled to Manchuria. The princesses are in an even worse situation. Many are given in marriage to a variety of neighbouring tribal chiefs and foreign princes to spy on their husbands and report their loyalty to China. The reigning Emperor nominates his successor which ensures the filial piety and fealty of his sons. If any prince obtained civil rank and administered a province it is feared the Empire would soon fall apart. But they are ranked as Wongs (Kings) above the Viceroys and governors and are thus said to be too senior to be involved in the civil administration. The authority of the monarch over the civil administration can be glimpsed from the power he exercises over his family. China is an overwhelming despotism of the One Man over all. This is to ensure the tranquillity of the Empire.[280]

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

Editorial – The Canton Press has published a letter from ‘A Citizen of the World’. He says Englishmen are opposed to Catholicism on religious and commercial grounds. He says that our Indian Empire has awakened a vague fear in Peking of our power and intentions. Surprisingly, he also says we are ignorant of the character, habits and genius of the Chinese. He says we sought to force the Canton provincial government to recognise our authority before our representative’s accreditation had been accepted at Peking.

Napier came to Canton openly in the cutter long used by the Company as a ferry (actually a boat of the Lord Amherst). He wrote to the Viceroy and the address on the envelope was written out by Morrison. The Viceroy refused it because it was not a petition.

Napier then required the British frigates to pass the Bogue. How can ‘Citizen’ allege ‘because the forts resisted ….’ that ‘we are to invade their coasts, threaten them with war, destroy their commercial shipping’? In our petition we merely asked that reparation be demanded for firing on H M ships.

‘Citizen’ says the petition evinces our spirit of discontent and commercial / political aggression which engenders the hatred and suspicion of the Chinese from whom we acquire our wealth. Well, every foreign nation that has traded with China has had to struggle with the corruption and barbaric restraint of its government.

‘Citizen’ says we have no real commercial grievances. What was the stoppage of trade in 1821 on account of the Lintin affair? If a Chinese was murdered tomorrow the trade would be stopped again. The monopoly of the Hongs is indefensible under China’s own law. The Consoo Fund, the Imperial duties and the consequent inevitability of our smuggling – these incontrovertibly damn the Chinese system whilst proving the commercial spirit and enterprise of the Chinese people.

If the British government will not protect us, we will protect ourselves but this shameful desertion will soon become known to the Chinese and we will sacrifice our national honour and character. America may leave its trade to its merchants because it does not have the national importance that ours does. America has no immense national debt to fund. When one channel of industry is closed to her she simply switches to another.[281]

‘Citizen’ says Britons are unruly. Britain is the creator of elected representation, of loyal and lawful opposition, of two houses of parliament, an independent judiciary, liberty of the press, responsibility of ministers and the rule of law. We alone among European powers give our colonies independent life.

‘Citizen’ says gain and self-aggrandisement are the aims of British merchants in China. Within recent memory some rights of foreigners have been conceded through the exertions of British merchants. Does ‘Citizen’ expect the To Kwong Emperor to accept us within the pale of His civilisation and allow us the rights of men? His government’s attitude is exemplified in the banishment of the innocent Linguist Ho Pun.[282]

The Consoo Fund was instituted in 1780 to liquidate the debts of bankrupt Hongs but has only triflingly been applied to that object. Foreign trade can never be free until this pretended Fund (but actual tax) is swept away. That will be a death blow to the Hong system for the government already taxes the foreign trade well beyond the legal tariff. It is both cause and effect of monopoly and extortion.

‘Citizen’ says we should act like Chinese whilst in China. Chinese officials hold us in contempt and repeatedly tell us we have no notion of law or justice, that we are over-reaching, money-loving schemers whose only dread is poverty and only desire wealth. The dislike and contempt that Chinese have for foreigners proceeds from our subserviency and time-serving policies not from our attempts to obtain justice and our wish not to submit to tyranny.

Vol 8 No 43 – Tuesday 27th October 1835

Letter to the Editor – The tariff and Consoo Fund are important matters to us. The Company historically asked the robbers to redress the robbery.

Napier tried to approach a higher power but schism amongst the merchants and inadequate power delegated by Britain caused him to fail.

If British manufacturers now find their interests affected they should themselves call attention to the problem in England. Sgd Delta[283]

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

Notice – Richard Holdsworth and William Smithson have retired from the partnership and business will be continued by Thomas Fox, Thomas Samuel Rawson and William Blenkin.

Sgd Fox Rawson & Co, Canton 1st November 1835

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

24th October – The acting Nam Hoi Heen Liu has proclaimed against fires:

The city is crowded; shops and houses are built contiguously with bamboo and wooden awnings; people and smoke drift through the streets; The inhabitants are careless and fires occur continuously.

Now winter approaches, things become dry and special care must be taken. Residents and the district police forces must be alert to the risks of fire. Some things are apt to catch fire – shelves, bamboo and mat coverings above cooking fires in the streets in particular. The police are to order the people to remove all wooden awnings and substitute blue or black cloth to shield the sun’s rays. They may be extended in daylight but must be rolled up at night.

If anyone disobeys, report him to me. If the police connive they will also be investigated. No favour will be shown.

At the entrance to every house a large wooden or earthenware tub full of water for fire fighting should be placed. It is not to be used for other purposes.

If there is fire, the police and the soldiers and the neighbours must assist in its extinguishment. Occupants of burning houses must leave their doors open and all go to draw water. This is for your own good. Do not oppose or resist. Tremblingly obey.

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

Recent Canton news:

  • A large number of Muslims live in Nan Sing Lee Street in the new city outside the south gate
  • Many Hunan men have arrived in Canton having been banished from their own province. Their crimes are unknown but they must remain here at least until a new Emperor ascends the throne and issues a general amnesty. They carry all their worldly possessions with them and appear quite wretched. They speak pure Mandarin fluently. They are not watched and roam the city begging.
  • A Canton resident fought a thief in the street but sustained a serious laceration of the belly and his guts fell out. The local authorities could not offer any help and his wife tended him alone in the street until he died.

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

Last week we reported the Emperor’s degradation of a senior official for predicting the wrong dates for interment of the late Empresses. The Son of Heaven rules over a third of humanity and immerses himself and His people in superstition.

Only foreign pressure can open this dynasty’s eyes to science and advancement. History shows that idolatry, superstition and despotism do not produce virtue. This paternal and patriarchal government keeps its people in political childhood. By directing the people to believe that astronomical events, natural disasters and supposed miracles are the causative agents of changing nature, the entire populace is kept in ignorance of reality.

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

Letter to the Editor – I usually agree with your indignation at Chinese tyranny in our day-to-day life whilst, on paper, they assert benevolence and compassion towards us, but in your last edition, in respect of the wretched Linguist Ho Pun, you said we ourselves are not blameless, etc. What am I to do?

Should I risk life and property antagonising the Chinese government to rescue Ho? If the community was united we might have achieved something and had the victim been a foreigner we would no doubt have attempted it, but we have to be realistic. Sgd Delta

Editor – it would have been an honourable thing for us to meet the Viceroy and express ourselves on the injustice of Ho’s sentence. How Qua holds sway over the Hongs and can influence the provincial government. Those officials are ignorant of foreign trade.

If we had unitedly represented our views to How Qua at the outset, impressed upon him the injustice of the sentence, it would have been impossible for the government to proceed in condemning an innocent man. It was our apathetic response that made me think we were not blameless.

If the Viceroy had been implacable we might have threatened to send the details to Peking, even to the Emperor. This would have cost us little in time and money and we could assuage our consciences in having tried to prevent tyranny. Now it appears we were so concerned to avoid a collision with the Hongs and provincial government as to settle Ho’s case by contributing a few dollars to speed him on his way.

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

A correspondent has provided us with a copy of the final letter from the Superintendents to the British Chamber (the letter that was hitherto withheld from the Canton Register) and it is reproduced below:

The Superintendents are instructed, inter alia, to resolve disputes between British subjects in China. They note from a letter of 15th November that some firms dissent from the formation of the Chamber of Commerce, specifically to the way it is being done. They wish to suggest steps towards its reconstruction.

Superficially the objections appear obviated by your advice that the Chamber is open to all, merely by an intimation to the Secretary.

The Superintendents believe a Chamber is beneficial to British interests. They would regret any impairment of its usefulness. But as it is a purely commercial venture they cannot interfere in its constitution or in the regulations established for its governance.

Sgd Charles Elliot, Macau, 3rd December 1834

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

The London Asiatic Journal for March 1835 says that the ‘dispute with China’ is due to too literal translation of documents. The author asserts that Yee is not intended to mean barbarian but is just an idiomatic expression for some non-Chinese. He then re-translates Governor Loo’s Edict of 18th August 1834 (the reasoned review of foreign trade and Napier’s initiative) in idiomatic English. The 8-page article implies there is little substance to our complaints.

Editor – If the author had his idiomatic English translation converted to idiomatic Chinese and submitted to officials here both he and the one submitting the petition would be deemed traitors and banished to Ili.

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

British Trade at Canton in Spanish Dollars, 1st April 1834 – 31st March 1835

Imports to China

Broad cloth

Bengal cotton

Bombay cotton

Madras cotton


Long ells


Patna opium

Benares opium

Malwa opium


Total imports














Exports from China

Black tea

Green tea

Nanking raw silk

Canton raw silk

Silk piecegoods



Profits – Silver dollars

– Sycee silver

– Gold

75 ship fees at W’poa

rice ships & at Lintin


Total exports
















(NB – the reference to fees payable to China on shipping at Lintin is at the rate of $1,500 per ship, same as rice ships, but is not further elucidated. There is a magistrate of Si Ngon County responsible for and based at Lintin who collects fees there.)

Vol 8 No 44 – Tuesday 3rd November 1835

Cantonese military reviews are held on the plain outside the east gate of the city, an area seldom visited by foreigners. Nevertheless, the Nam Hoi magistrate has forbidden us to go there as firstly, if we carry swords (never the case) we might become angry and injure bystanders and secondly, we might ourselves be injured in the great crowd.

Vol 8 No 45 – 10th November 1835

Commencement of business – Eglinton, MacLean & Co have opened an office at 5 British Factory on 2nd November 1835

Vol 8 No 45 – 10th November 1835

Letter to the Editor – The similarities that you allege to exist between the styles of the Chinese and Sindhi governments also apply to the government of British India. Using Lieutenant Burnes’ Travels as example, let me recite a letter he sent to the Emir of Northern Sind, which he says is in the epistolary style of the country:

“I have long heard of your Highness and I congratulate myself for having arrived at your dominions. I have brought presents for you from His Majesty the King of England, mighty in rank, terrible as the planet Mars, a monarch great and magnificent, of the rank of Jemshid, of the dignity of Alexander, unequalled by Darius, as just as Norsherwan, great as Fureedoon, admired as Cyrus, famed as the Sun, the destroyer of tyranny and oppression, upright and generous, pious and devout, favoured from above, etc, may his dominion endure for ever.

“It is well known that when a friend visits a friend it is a source of happiness and I have therefore written these lines but when I see you my joy will be increased. The respected Mahomed Gohur, one of those enjoying your confidence, has arrived here, bringing with him many marks of your hospitality. He told me of your profession of respect and friendship for the British government. Need I say I am rejoiced; such civilities mark the great …….”

Lt Burnes observed the style and form of the Sindhi government and it is the policy of the present government of India to do so towards the Emirs. Ought this not be the policy of the British in their relations with China? The Chinese adopt a flowery style of correspondence. They eulogise their sovereign in the same way. Yet we assign them a rank far above their reasonable expectation and adopt a tone of humility and plain business-like style that would hardly be acceptable between European diplomats.

For example in Europe we routinely speak of ‘high contracting powers’ but in China our translators are blamed for calling Great Britain Tai Ying Kwok as this excites the contempt of the supercilious Chinese at the presumption of such an insignificant nation as England.

Some foreigners defend the Chinese in their arrogant demand that all who approach her do so as tributaries. They would allow the late Viceroy’s assertion that Chinese officials are not permitted to correspond with foreigners and conclude that we cannot write to the officials in any way. Terms like ‘the great Emperor’ and ‘the great Viceroy’ that characterise letters from the Hong to foreigners are not used in documents between Chinese. It is the barbarians who need to be constantly reminded of the greatness of China. All this Chinese assumption of superiority is of the same kind.

Why do we meet it here with a tone of humility that is absent from our attitude in other Asian jurisdictions? The King of England, ‘terrible as the planet Mars’, is really the head of a nation in no way inferior to the much-vaunted Celestial Empire. The King of England addresses the sovereigns of India through the Governor General as His Viceroy. How can the King reconcile this position of superiority in India with His inferiority in China? I leave it to H M Commissioners to decide how far their letters resemble those of the Chinese.

I will end with advice from Lt Burnes – ’there is no difference between the manners of Europe and Asia as striking as the difference in correspondence. In Asia a secretary is simply told to write a letter of friendship, or of congratulation or whatever and he does so. The official merely affixes his seal often without reading it. If the seal is illegible you cannot know who sent the letter because his name does not appear in it.’ This style approximates the style of China except they generally add their names. I think we should conform with the custom of the people in our correspondence. Sgd Hon Yan (Chinese)

Vol 8 No 45 – 10th November 1835

A Christian American trader has financed a trip along the East Coast in the Huron, taking Reverend W H Medhurst along to distribute bibles. This has incidentally tested whether ships unconnected with trade are permitted to enter Chinese ports. The Huron is 200+ tons with a crew of twelve and lightly armed. She left Kum Sing Mun on 26th August and made her way direct to the north while the south west monsoon blew, planning to return on the north east monsoon in winter. She was off Shantung in a fortnight and then put in to the excellent harbour of Wei Hai Wei where she stayed four days.

Wei Hai Wei is a small walled fortress used as an anchorage by the coastal junk traffic. Several officials came on board and were very civil. Rev Medhurst in return visited the officials ashore. They strongly objected to our having any contact with the people but were never hostile or insulting. Two days were spent ashore visiting villages and distributing the books. A few sick people were treated with western medicines.

We next anchored at Ke Shan Ko for five days. It is 47 miles west of Wei Hai Wei. Three days were spent in unrestrained communication with the villages lining the bay. At the end of this time some troops started to arrive and a war junk. The Foo of Yang Chow, the Manchu General and the Foo of Ning Hai arrived to interview us. Medhurst and Stevens waited on their excellencies and were ceremoniously received. The conversation covered Christianity, England, America and the prior visit of Lindsay, Gutzlaff and Gordon. Finally they began to assume the usual style of Chinese officials and lay down the law to us. Medhurst asserted no offence against either the law or the Emperor. The meeting then ended.

The General proposed our speedy return to Canton. He said the orders from Peking were to show compassion to foreigners, supply their wants from the Imperial treasury and send them away as soon as possible. He sent us a great quantity of provisions for which we returned him rice. He returned it two or three times but we kept sending it back and eventually he kept it.

We then travelled south around the Shantung promontory. Few large towns were seen. The whole of Shantung seems to be agricultural rather than commercial. We continued to Shanghai.

This is a very active port. We saw a hundred soldiers and a fleet of war junks but no hostility was manifested although communication with the people was impeded. This is a fine port with a productive hinterland and, when free trade is granted, the products of Canton will no longer be mentioned.

We continued to the Chusan group for two days. We sailed south and visited Tung Shan for a day where we enjoyed a friendly reception from both officials and people. We then returned to Lintin. In a voyage of 70 days we spent 15 days amongst the people and distributed 20,000 books.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

Voyage of the Huron, continued … In Shantung we were invited to interview the officials. We arrived at a temple between two rows of 25 of the finest soldiers we have seen in China, big men in clean uniforms. Behind the altar and in front of the Gods were two officials seated rigidly immobile. We bowed to them from the threshold. They raised their closed hands to chin-height and nodded back. One officer named Chow was the military General. He wore a red button and peacock’s feather and a string of court beads.

Questions were asked by a chefoo and directed at Medhurst. “Who is Jesus in your books?” M explained. “Do you suppose there are no good men in China?” M said the Chinese do not know about Christ. “We have Confucius, what need is there for another sage?” M said Confucius taught nothing about salvation. “You may think your religion good but here it is an evil. Your doctrine confuses the people and cannot be permitted. We do not want your books and you ought not to distribute them illegally.” M said he had studied the law and recalled nothing against distributing good books. He was told “we have a law against the dissemination of corrupt doctrines.”

The Chefoo asked how our voyage was financed. “Does the money come from your government?” M told him it came from subscriptions of Christians at home. “Where were the books made and where did you learn our language?” M said the books were printed in Batavia where he learned Chinese from immigrants. “How many of these immigrants are there, which provinces do they come from, do they all become Christians in Batavia?” M thought they remained Confucian. Then the General interrupted “Return to your country and tell those who sent you that they have wasted their money. No-one will receive your books except a few vagrants on the coast. My orders from the Emperor are to treat foreigners with kindness but by no means to permit them to stay and propagate their opinions.” We were then given liberal presents and asked to depart and not stop anywhere else along the coast lest disagreeable consequences ensue. They said they had treated us politely and we should reciprocate by stopping at no other places. M perceived the presents were intended to create an obligation on our side and said we could take nothing without giving something in return. They said this could never be allowed.

We continued our voyage to Shanghai. The officials there enquired after Gutzlaff and Lindsay but forbad us entry to the city. They gave us dinner and asked us to leave. At the wharf we saw a basket on the steps half-filled with straw and containing fragments of torn books. At the same time the attendants were filling our boat with provisions and a huge number of presents. Suspecting disrespect, M ordered all the things to be removed. At the same time a policeman stepped forward and fired the basket. M then decided to treat the presents in the same way and threw many on the fire. This put out the fire and disconcerted the officials. A second attempt to burn the torn books was treated in the same way. Then M said to the officials “These books were torn in a tumult. We consider it a sin to tread on written paper and to prevent it, I ordered them burned.” Actually M had earlier heard another officer ordering the tearing of the bibles but had not understood what was meant until the fire occurred. In this way we left the city and rowed five hours getting back to the Huron at 10 pm.

At most of the places that we stopped we received enquiries for opium and our broadcloth garments attracted attention but only in Shanghai were we asked to trade. The junkmen were especially keen. They would adopt a course bringing them close to our ship and as they passed would ask which (alphabetical) letter we would eat (which point of the compass we would steer). They needed us outside the port before they could approach us and offered to take all our cargo whatever it was. Having only books, we proceeded to the Chusan Group.

On arrival there we were followed by warjunks through the islands to Poo Too. Visitors came on board. The senior mandarin was silent but the junior was effusive. They stayed for dinner and as they relaxed they lamented the government restrictions which prevented trade between our countries. We felt great pleasure in hearing these congenial views.

Vol 8 No 45 – 10th November 1835

Letter to the Editor from one of the foreign community at Kum Sing Mun, Kiao Island:

I pity you people at Canton. You go from bed to breakfast to desk where you remain until exhausted, day after day, with nothing to break the monotony. In the evening you have the Funny Club, the Union Club and the Whist Club whereas we outlaws in the dominions of Phoebe enjoy all the special pleasures we can imagine. Each day is the harbinger of new enjoyments in anticipation of the morrow.

To give you some idea of our delights let me say that yesterday morning we had a regatta. A race was run between Fairy, Falcon and Syed Khan. They passed out of ‘the moon’ (the traders’ name for Kum Sing Mun) sailed across to Castle Peak and back. It was won by Syed Khan. Afterwards the Americans brought-in the ‘ladies of the Moon’, who had graced the Fairy with their presence during the race, and held a dancing party.

Vol 8 No 46 – Tuesday 17th November 1835

The newly-formed newspaper Singapore Free Press suggests we should publish weekly trade statistics. We have to say that there are two trades carried on here, an inside and an outside trade, and it is done by six or seven nations all trading independently. Each country has separate interests. There is no Customs House where foreigners can examine records and in any event no credence can be given to the reports of the Linguists.

How are we to collect the statistics unless every merchant is agreeable to sending copies of his invoices to the Canton Register?

There is a practical difficulty as well. We have identified 7-8 compositors in Canton of whom only two have sufficient English to set our type. These men already produce the monthly Repository and the other two weeklies. If there are compositors in Singapore looking for a job they are welcome to apply here.

Vol 8 No 46 – Tuesday 17th November 1835

The Hoppo Pang has issued an order to the Hongs:

“The Wei Yuen of Macau reports that on 27th October the pilot Wei Kwang Chang reported to him that the ship Greig (the first steamer in Chinese waters, later renamed Jardine) removed from Kum Sing Mun to Lintin and three days later removed to the south of Macau (Taipa roads). The Wei Yuen has ordered the cruisers to be alert and prevent the fishermen and Tanka boats from approaching her.

“I, the Hoppo, have already told the Hongs to order her away but she remains at Macau. She should be expelled. The Hongs are imperatively ordered to have the ship fix a date for its departure and linger no more.” 4th November 1835

Vol 8 No 46 – Tuesday 17th November 1835

Letter from the Hongs to the foreign community:

Tea is sold to the foreigners every year and in the succeeding year they bring back for replacement that part that is found wetted on discharge at London. This year we find the returned tea may not have been wetted here but may have been damaged on the ship. It is difficult to distinguish between tea damaged here and tea damaged on board.

In future every foreigner buying tea must give notice to its selected Hong to open each chest and turn out the leaden lining to closely inspect whether the contents is wet and, if so, to immediately reject it. Thus the tea sent to the ship will be free of water damage and any wet tea found in future will clearly have been damaged in the ship.

Sgd Ten Hong merchants, 3rd November 1835

Vol 8 No 46 – Tuesday 17th November 1835

Letter from the Hongs:

On 4th November we received an Edict of the Viceroy advising that the Emperor had been told by the Foo Tai of Shantung that an English ship had appeared. He has ordered the governors of all coastal provinces to prevent foreign ships entering. The great officers of Kwangtung are required to prevent foreign ships wandering. They must restrain the fierce, violent and crafty dispositions of the foreigners.

The Viceroy accordingly proclaims:

“Canton officials have been too indulgent. Recently the English sat down on the new seawall (Editor calls it the extension of the Company’s garden) and would not move. They petitioned to bring their women to Canton. They want to be carried about in 4-bearer chairs.

“In the 12th year of the To Kwong Emperor they sent a ship to Fukien, Chekiang and Shantung. Last year they sent warships to Whampoa without passes. They fired guns and broke the law in every way. Now a foreign ship has been to Shantung and distributed books to excite doubt and disturbance. This is to be feared.

“The foreigners are benevolently permitted to remain at Canton for trade. They may not go elsewhere for extraordinary profits. If they continue disorderly, then drive them out. Administer the law so it is difficult for them to offend.

“I, the Viceroy, send this Edict to the Hongs to explain to the English merchants and to provide a copy to every English ship. They may remain only at the open market of Whampoa. They may not follow their own whims. If they do they will be driven out and their trade stopped.”

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

Letter to the Editor – After Napier died and Davis left, we were subjected to inconvenience. The worst was attendance at Macau to have our manifests signed. The American insurance offices prohibit their insured ships anchoring in Macau roads even though American ships draw less than 16 feet (several of ours draw 23 feet). For 16 foot draught one needs a sharp lookout; for 23 foot draught one is in grave danger. The remedy is for a Superintendent to move to Lintin and sign manifests there. If we cannot have this, I expect British commanders will be commencing their return voyages with manifests signed by traders in Canton.

Sgd Free Trade. 17th November

Editor – why are the Superintendents still here? Our trade continues without their protection or promotion. Napier’s death was reported in London in February. We now have London news up to July and nothing has been done. Two administrations have been in power and yet the commissions of the Superintendents remain in force. Their shadowy semblance of British power is a mockery. Had Napier lived he would not have stayed here powerless. He may have left a Chargé d’Affaires behind to receive despatches but no more. We report to the Superintendents out of courtesy not compulsion. A British representative’s signature on a manifest is only required if the ship carries tobacco. For our usual manifests we may as well have the Bishop of Macau sign them.

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

Official Notice of the British Trade Commission at Macau:

To avoid inconvenience and delay to British shipping, Sir George B Robinson and the other Superintendents will remove to Lintin (on board the sloop Louisa) to issue Port Clearances and provide other official services.[284]

Macau, 21st November 1835

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

Obituary – Sir Anders Ljungstedt died at home in Macau at 1 am on 10th November. He understood the languages and manners of most of the countries of Europe. He resided at Macau for the last forty years. We are unsure of his exact age but believe he was approaching 80.

He devoted many years to his Historical Sketches of Portuguese Settlements in Asia and part of the work was published in pamphlet form. The complete book is now being published in America and will arrive here soon. The proceeds of sale will fund his Free School in Sweden.

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

A large fire commenced at Cheung Yuen Kee in Tai Sun Street (in the new city near the Tai Ping gate within the walls of Canton) at 8 pm on Sunday 22nd November. The city gates were already closed and no one could enter. The fire rapidly spread under fresh winds. It burned all night and the suburban streets were thronged with people removing goods and their female and aged relations. The clamour of male voices was horrible. All the bad people were attracted to the scene. Beds, bedding and clothes were saved first, then domestic utensils, furniture and goods.

Some foreigners got in at about 2 am after the Chu Lan Gate burnt and collapsed. They made their way to the Tai Ping gate in the north west finding desolation everywhere. The Chinese womenfolk behaved admirably. No complaints, no hysterics – just calmness and resignation. Any burning city is an apocalyptic sight but in China it is worse – the city walls are 30-40 feet high and 20 feet thick. Most of the houses are single-storey so their roofs approximate the height of the walls. The streets are all narrow and the houses all very close together. Access to the walls is by flights of poorly maintained steps. The rapid spread enclosed the victims with the fire. Women with shrunken crippled feet could hardly walk. The ruin, despair and prospect of painful death approaching so quickly can well be conceived. The fire engines as they played on the flames produced vast clouds of thick black smoke which rolled over the suburbs engulfing all. The wind carried sparks and embers right across the foreign factories into the river. The flames were distinctly visible at Whampoa. By 7 am some control was achieved and extinguishment occurred a couple of hours later. 1,400 houses have been destroyed.

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

On 16th November Poon the Poon Yu Heen sealed Kwong Lei Hong (Mow Qua’s Hong) and his house on Honam. Two members of his family have been detained. We hear the Foo Yuen and Hoppo insist Kwong Lei Hong continues in business.

Vol 8 No 47 – Tuesday 24th November 1835

On 12th November 1835, the Hoppo Pang again proclaimed against native traitors visiting the factories:

“When the foreigners come to live in the factories there are idle people with a slight knowledge of English who visit pretending to be selling small things but actually trading in staples. They come and go and the revenue is not paid on their sales. Lookouts will be placed to observe all the entrances to the factories. The Hong merchants, Linguists and all the residents of nearby streets must pay attention.

“If anyone sneaks into the factories they will be seized and severely punished. Any one who is negligent or who connives will receive no indulgence.”

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

A grandson of How Qua’s suffered from the recent fire. He owned many cloth and silk shops in Tai Ping Street which were all burned down.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

The acting Viceroy Ke reports there are vagabonds in Canton who set fire to houses, scheming to steal money and goods in the ensuing pandemonium.

These wicked men are devoid of all heavenly principles. They must be annihilated. The civil and military officers, soldiers, police and people should be aware of their activities. If you see them, seize them and take them before the magistrate for trial. An Imperial order for their execution will immediately be requested.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

  • Notice – Ino Templeton & Co are appointed Lloyd’s Agents for Canton
  • Notice – Eglinton, MacLean & Co have commenced business at 5 British factory, Canton as merchants and commission agents. 2nd November
  • Notice – Pereira & Co have commenced business at Canton and Macau as commission agents. The partners are M Pereira, F J de Payva and J S Mendes, 2nd November[285]

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

Pang the Hoppo has issued an Edict:

“The servants and sailors of the foreign ships at Whampoa constantly travel in sampans to shore. They wander about shooting birds and disturbing the residents. The Hong merchants and Linguists will inform the captains of foreign ships to keep their men in strict order.

“They are not to go ashore in parties, firing off their guns and killing things. If they disturb the people they will be punished.”

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

Provincial Edict – The 10th day of 10th moon of 15th year of the To Kwong Emperor is the 60th birthday of the Empress Dowager. From 9th to 11th days, all military people and traders are commanded to hang a piece of brilliant silk from their door posts, set out tables with incense and invoke blessings to show their sincere veneration. It is unnecessary to set up lanterns in view of the fire risk.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

The Emperor has decreed that all chief provincial officers will now report to Him all sums that were due prior to the 10th year of his reign. All such reported debts will be remitted to express Imperial joy at His mother’s 60th birthday.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

In the recent fire, a pawnbroker’s shop was destroyed. It is said to have contained upwards of 40,000 taels of pledged goods. These include woollens, silks, sandalwood, silk thread, buttons, fans of Malva leaf and gold leaf.

When pledged goods are burned the pawnbroker is legally required to repay half the sum advanced.

Vol 8 No 48 – Tuesday 1st December 1835

Yesterday was St Andrews Day and Wm Jardine hosted a dinner for 67 people, including one Chinese (Hing Tai, the Hong merchant). The band of the ship Lord Lowther played. Very many toasts were drunk. The toast to the U S President was returned by W S Wetmore.

Readers will recall the subscription in 1833 by the officers of the Company’s indiamen for some plate for Jardine. It arrived on the Minerva and was first used at this dinner. It is made by M/s Robinson and Brown of London and comprises vessels and dishes and one large salver with a list of the subscribers and the following testament engraved on it:

“In testimony of our sincere respect for his character and in acknowledgement of his undeviating friendship, and of the many kind disinterested and valuable services which he has rendered to the maritime officers of the East India Company”

Sgd 84 names of India Company staff (listed in the paper) arranged around Jardine’s coat of arms.

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

The Fairie Queen arrived at Lintin with mail and the 2nd Officer was sent up to Canton to deliver it on 3rd December but neither he nor the mail has arrived. He is presumed to have been arrested.

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

Letter to the Editor – You question the good sense of Christian missionary societies propagating their religion in China (the voyage of the Huron) and suggest they break the law. I challenge you to say how. They ignored the legal opinion of the Shantung officials and appealed to the people. St Paul appealed to Rome and was instantly heard. The Emperor of China is appealed to against the misrule of his deputies (though our own government will not attempt it). These missionaries are supported by a majority of the foreign merchants.

Sgd Delta

Editor – Sec 165 of the Chinese penal code deals with possession or concealment of prohibited books; Sec 220 with crossing a barrier without a licence; Sec 224 with the detection and examination of suspects and Sec 265 with sorcery and magic.

We believe China will be improved by Christianity but our policy should not be shaped by private individuals from the London Missionary Society. When a Chinese official decides someone has broken the law, it is open to him to arrest the suspect and examine him. Could England complain?

St Paul’s appeal succeeded because he appealed against torture and interrogation on the grounds he was a Roman citizen. That was his political right and nothing to do with his supposed offence. How can these foreign missionaries claim rights given to Chinese? Would the British government distribute Protestant bibles in a Catholic European country? Is it right to continue to disobey the local law and custom after being warned of the consequences?

The governments of east and west are so different that we must always have justice and propriety on our side before acting. We should respect governments that rescue men from the caves and forests and allow a public opinion to develop from which flows the dignity of man, his self-respect and the applause or censure of his fellows.

To rashly shake the opinion of submissive and uneducated people when we are powerless to influence the effects is not a precept of Christians. The unique policies of China and our position on her frontier, a position long voluntarily submitted to, require new and untried policies. We cannot clearly see what they should be but we have no doubt that, before any attempt to revolutionise this society is made, we should ensure we have the means to carry it through. What benefit can result from creating anarchy? The Chinese government believes wholeheartedly that contact between Chinese and Westerners is subversive of its authority.[286]

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

George Chinnery has an able student in Lam Qua. He understands the genius of art in reproducing the character of a face. Chinese normally dread having their likeness made although Canton has become exceptional because of our influence. For Lam Qua to excel in our style of art says much for him. And he only charges $15 per portrait.

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

Letter to the Editor – After a splendid lunch with the ‘Laird of Cockpen’ (Wm Jardine)[287] an assembly of male and female residents at Lintin joined on board the steamer Jardine (which you previously called the Greig) and steamed around the ships anchored off Lintin. We then circled the island in about an hour in the still of the early evening before again circumnavigating the shipping and returning to our anchorage.

This little ship, although not driven at full speed, is really fast and readily answered the helm. Liberal refreshments were provided by Jardine and the evening ended with the usual amusements.

Sgd Sir Lucius O’Tregore (pseudonym of a romantic married Irishman living with his wife at Lintin)

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

Letter to the Editor – Nine days ago an officer of the Fairy Queen and the mail he was carrying in a ferry boat from Lintin to Whampoa were seized and $500 demanded for their release. If one cent is paid we will invite another seizure. The boat carried a full cargo of contraband but there is no complaint about the smuggling, only the letters.

We should all go to the city gate and request full apology and reparation. If our demands are not redressed we can take reprisals against Chinese shipping. We have the right and we have the power. Let us use it. Sgd Delta

Editor – Although the hire of a fast boat on the river is forbidden, the detention of an Englishman and our mail is also wrong. We must complain and demand redress. The whole foreign community should recollect its dignity, great wealth, combined talents, high respectability, moral courage, national determination and perseverance, individual character and personal influence. We should recognise that we can prevail over the ignorant Hong merchants and rapacious, cowardly officials.

How much longer must we bow our heads in China? How much longer will free men lay supine at the feet of the Manchu?

An Englishman has been detained by some plundering tide waiter or minor official. Our correspondence is delayed, transactions impeded, markets affected, personal liberty violated. For what and by whom? We should cause the Canton Government to feel our power.

Now the comprador of the Fairy Queen, the man who hires boats and buys provisions for the ship, has also been seized. He can only have done his duty. The officials have over-stepped for personal gain. The case is too strong to abandon. We must persevere.

Vol 8 No 49 – Tuesday 8th December 1835

Letter to the Editor – How Qua has bought a dog for $40! It was incessantly barking and the foreign owner would not restrain it. Many people in the factories were disturbed and complained. How Qua solved their problem by buying the animal from its owner. Perhaps the Hoppo will now buy a dozen for $2 each and sell them to How Qua at $40 each. That would be good business. Sgd Reader

Editor – How Qua is known to the other Hong merchants as ‘the timid young lady’ (in Cantonese). Timidity as well as wealth are his characteristics but we doubt he could be importuned so easily.

Whilst Chinese culture may produce the heartlessness that we often report, it also produces the civility and politeness of the people. Offence is never intentionally given.

Vol 8 No 50 – 15th December 1835

Letter to the Editor – The following three documents are of interest to more or less the entire foreign community at Canton. Please publish them.[288] Sgd Beta:

  • To Capt Wallace of the Sylph – We, the hull and cargo underwriters of the Sylph, thank you for your indefatigable exertions on our behalf. By staying with the ship when all expected her to founder, you saved the important part of her cargo. Sgd by ten insurance offices in India.
  • To Capt Wallace – We thank you for saving the cargo but you were wrong in not delivering their proportion of the opium to those consignees at Lintin willing to receive it. Sgd Lyall Matheson & Co, agents for the 10th Canton Insurance Office.
  • To Capt Wallace – You represented both salvors and underwriters. You could not divide the salvage amongst consignees at Lintin because they were merely consignees. Who would then pay the salvors? The owners were principally in India and you judged rightly that they would abandon their claims as soon as they heard of the loss of the Sylph. You are fully entitled to our thanks. Sgd Rustomjee Cowasjee, Secretary to Sun Insurance Office.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

Ah Keung, a cousin of the Hoppo Pang, is offering to become a Hong merchant. He seeks a financial partner. He will not himself invest but merely procure the trading licence and exemption from customary Hoppo fees from his cousin. These valuable services will constitute his capital.

Three country gentlemen – Tse, Lee and Fung – are keen to become his partners but none of them know anything about foreign trade. Tse is about 60 years old; Lee is very rich and Fung is unknown to us. They are now looking for a fifth partner who knows foreign trade.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

Macau news – The Heung Shan Heen has inspected the roadworks along the Praia Grande and imprisoned the stone masons. He says the road is so big and wide it is suitable as a landing place for an invasion force. Or it could be used for large-scale smuggling.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

Letter to the Editor on the subject of the missing 2nd Officer of Fairy Queen:

Over 50 foreigners assembled at Mr Gibb’s house (of Gibb Livingston & Co) and set off quickly for the city gate (Tsing Hoi Mun). The first barrier was passed without difficulty. About 6 of us set upon the guards who were trying to shut the inner wicket gate and, flourishing our cudgels, put them to flight. About 24 foreigners thus obtained access to the walled city and set off for the Viceroy’s yamen but none of us knew the way.

We stopped outside a Tin Hau temple which some proposed we occupy until our petition had been answered. Others objected and a Parsee offered to guide us to the Kwong Heep’s archery ground. There the garrison tried to barricade the door but our Parsee General forced his way in whereupon half a dozen soldiers fled.

Then the Chinese regrouped and two officials returned with some 50 unarmed soldiers and a fierce argument ensued. We wished to deliver our petition there while the officials thought it contrary to law and reason.

Eventually we agreed to retreat to the city gate where we were met by a man identifying himself as the Kwong Heep, the very man to whom we wished to deliver the petition. But some amongst us asserted the man was an imposter sent merely to restore order amongst the barbarians. The old gentleman was treated rather badly, which he bore with great patience. We dismissed him with the advice that we could not give our valuable petition to such a shabby looking fellow.

After half an hour a sedan chair appeared surrounded by attendants and, to our shock, out stepped the same old man, now dressed in smart silks and looking very respectable. We still doubted he was the real Kwong Heep and we alternately quizzed and scolded him which he again bore with great patience.

At this moment tiffin arrived and I am afraid matters went downhill. At length the Hong merchants, Linguists and Parsees, being non-combatants, were assembled between the warring factions and order was restored which was fortunate for us. A few from each side had bruised bones.

Finally a procedure for delivering the petition to the Kwong Heep was agreed and he promised to deliver it to the Viceroy. The Kwong Heep then disappeared and returned an hour later with the Chung Heep and the Nam Hoi Heen. They were all benign and pleasant. They assured us the Foo Yuen (governor) had received our petition. We assured the officials that we were much concerned for the fate of our countryman and unilaterally fixed for him to be released in three days or we should return. We then walked back to the factories and took a boat to How Qua’s residence. We told him of the 3-day limit. Sgd Pacificus

Editor – The 2nd officer of the Fairy Queen was released soon after.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

Open letter from a Briton in Canton to the British government:

The Company’s monopoly expired on 23rd April 1834. The whig government took six months to send Napier’s commission, just long enough to do us harm, and Napier failed. News of his death arrived back in London to find a Tory government in power, concerned only to turn the events in China to factional advantage. Then the Whigs came back. These appointers of Napier and disappointers of everyone here have been three months in power and have done nothing.

England takes £4 millions in tea duties every year. Deliberations on reducing or increasing the tax will make or break fortunes here. An alteration is proposed and common sense requires it occur before not after the tea season. It should be clear that our interests are not considered in their deliberations. We should adopt an independent position and rely neither on England nor China. Sgd Delta

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

In 1830 the Company’s supporters in the Commons numbered 62 MP’s, of whom ten were Directors.

Those Directors were returned by three proprietory boroughs, four boroughs containing totally 850 votes, one Scottish burgh and one Scottish county with 161 voters.

MP’s receive £300 p a but these ten Directors brought a patronage to bear upon the votes of the House of more than £250,000 derived from their share of the average number of annual Company appointments:

1 writership to China @ £10,000

68 writerships to India @ £5,000

468 military, medical & civil appointments @ £500

£ 10,000

£ 34,000*


* The figure does not cast. It must refer to 6 – 8 writerships to India @ £5,000 or 68 writerships at £500 (which is improbably cheap).

This excludes the local patronage for India House and the company’s shipping, the supply of stores to India and the Directors’ own trade.

51 of the Company’s MPs are shareholders or contractors of the Company. Of these, 28 were returned by proprietory boroughs. This group of 62 MP’s controls 100 votes in Company General Meetings. A vote at that time required possession of £2,200 invested in Company stock so 62 MP’s had at least 220,000 reasons for maintaining the monopoly.

18 MP’s had served the company in India of whom six received pensions from the company of £1,000 – £2,000 p a. There were in fact only two MP’s in the House who had resided in India but had not been servants of the Company.

Apart from this group of 62 there are other MP’s who receive the Company’s money or influence.

17 Peers own 31 votes in Company meetings. They have relatives holding another 18 votes. These 59 votes are worth £107,800

Hence 79 politicians and their relations possessed 149 votes, which value was increased to £2,700 by the memorable compromise promoted by Mr Charles Grant – that sometime President of the Board of Control, sometime shareholder of the Company. It is not possible to evaluate the proceeds that individuals made in jobbing Company stock – under Villiers it dropped to 191 but under Macaulay it rose with every communication. The late Charles Grant was the most able Company Director to ever buy a seat at Westminster but he was actually devoted to monopoly as the policies of his sons demonstrate. Thanks to the Reform Act this Director’s bench has been broken-up.

Vol 8 No 51 – 22nd December 1835

Wang Tsing Leen, the criminal judge of Kwangtung, has struck another blow for the law. He was doing his usual patrols in disguise on the night of 18th December when he passed the house of Leung Tai, one of the Nam Hoi Heen’s runners, in Magan Street and heard the sounds of dice being played inside.

He entered, seized four men, had ten blows administered to each and released them. The Nam Hoi Heen was alerted and attended the judge but was dismissed. Before leaving he directed several of his men to follow the judge and attempt some damage control.

The Judge continued to Kei Yun Lee Street where he found an opium divan. Four soldiers and two local residents were smoking inside and reportedly talking coincidentally about the Judge. He entered and seized them but the soldiers resisted and fought back with their fists, thinking to escape in the confusion. The Nam Hoi Heen’s men outside came in and supported the judge by subduing the occupants. The two locals got 200 blows each on the spot while the four soldiers were sent to the Manchu-General for discipline. He struck them off the roll and returned them (as civilians) to the judge for trial.

Vol 8 No 52 – Tuesday 29th December 1835

Notice – The Company’s advances secured on cargo to England will continue to be available until 31st March 1836 on the same terms as before or by topping-up the cash deposited with the Agents, at customer’s option. Time for clearance of deposits is likewise extended to 31st March 1836. No new deposits will be received after 31st December 1835.

Sgd J N Daniell, T C Smith & J H Astell (erstwhile junior Superintendent of Trade and member of the British Commission), Company’s Agents in China.

Vol 8 No 52 – Tuesday 29th December 1835

The Canton government has objected to Jardines’ proposed steamer service between Macau / Lintin / Whampoa. The petition was nominally presented in J N Daniell’s name and was submitted to the government by How Qua on our behalf. The objection is based on the ship not being a cargo ship – it being said only foreign cargo ships are permitted into the river. If the steamer comes in she will be fired upon. Foreign ships report their arrival, take on a Chinese pilot, and come up to Whampoa. There can be no change.

The entire foreign community at Canton (including the three Company officials conducting the finance agency) supported the innovation and signed the petition. The petition mentioned access to wives and children living in Macau whilst husbands had to stay in Canton. It said the boat is only for mail and passengers and has no cargo. The boat is unarmed. Its use would establish a regular and quick connection, irrespective of wind or tide. The Jardine is 85 feet long and 17 feet wide with a 6 foot draft.

Vol 8 No 52 – Tuesday 29th December 1835

Edict of the Viceroy and Hoppo against smuggling, dated 29th December:

In the past only the English Company has been permitted to use a boat (big enough to contain cannon) with a flag to travel between Macau and Whampoa.[289] Goods were prohibited. Now the company has gone, boats with flags may not be used.

Regulations for controlling the free traders were drafted and sent to Peking for approval. They have since become law. But we find some of the foreigners use boats with flags. How Qua will clearly explain to the foreigners.

When the ship anchors at Whampoa and the foreigners have letters for Canton or Macau, they may be sent only in open boats. Boats with masts or holds or flags are forbidden. When the boat reaches the Bogue it will be examined. If it carries arms or contraband it will be driven out. If the foreigners smuggle or try to sell things to the officers, I will find out and serious punishment will ensue.

Vol 9 No 1 – Tuesday 5th January 1836


  • William Thompson is admitted a partner in Turner & Co w.e.f. 1.1.36
  • Warren Delano Jr is admitted a partner in our companies, Russell, Sturgis & Co of Canton and Russell & Sturgis of Manila.

Vol 9 No 1 – Tuesday 5th January 1836

The USS Vincennes (Capt Aulick) arrived yesterday.

Vol 9 No 1 – Tuesday 5th January 1836

The steamer Jardine left Lintin at 7.30 pm, 1st January and arrived at the Bogue with 8 passengers. Heavy firing from all forts along both sides of the Bogue commenced but the guns were not shotted. J M & Co had decided to risk a confrontation.

Several junior officials based at Lintin had previously warned J M & Co not to proceed as the Foo Yuen had issued a clear order against the admission of the steamer to the river. On the evening of 31st December a policeman had boarded and been told the boat would definitely go to Whampoa but would stop if the military at the fort at Chuen Pi had any messages.

It was already known the Foo Yuen had sent a military officer to Whampoa, preparatory to examining and measuring the boat.

On arrival at the Bogue, four Lascars rowed three passengers ashore who asked the army officers to reconsider the Foo Yuen’s order excluding the Jardine. They replied their orders were unambiguous – the boat may not enter. The army officers were then invited aboard the Jardine for inspection. They agreed and the Admiral was towed up and down the estuary in his boat. During this time the Jardine was measured and checked for arms and ammunition revealing there was none.

The admiral said, if it was up to him, he would permit the boat into the river but his orders were clear. The steamer then left and returned to Lintin and Macau and the passengers trans-shipped to sailing boats for the voyage to Whampoa / Canton. Next Monday the steamer will return to Chuen Pi for another exhibition.

Vol 9 No 2 – Tuesday 12th January 1836

The Editor thanks the community for their support during the previous year. He notes he has just got his first Chinese subscriber and hopes this is an indication of future mutual interest.

Vol 9 No 2 – Tuesday 12th January 1836

A new Hong will open on 8th January. It is Kai Tai Hong, owned by Wei Sze Ching of Heung Shan. He is about 30 years old

ol 9 No 2 – Tuesday 12th January 1836

Letter from the Co-Hong to Jardine and the other merchants:

There are many junks and sampans in the river in front of the factories. When your boats come up from Whampoa, they stay at the seawall waiting for their passengers to return and this obstruction permits wrangling and quarrels to ensue with the Chinese boatmen over access to the steps. The other day a drunken sailor caused a fight. We must prevent these disturbances.

Whenever boats and seamen come from Whampoa they must not linger and caused disturbances but return immediately to Whampoa. Sgd 11 Hongs, 3rd January 1836

Editor – all foreign agents in Canton and ship commanders at Whampoa and Lintin must appreciate the great risks they run should any Chinese be injured or killed whether by accident or in our self-defence.

The foreign trade is presently unprotected. The only foreign representatives in Canton are the French and Dutch consuls and they have no power to influence matters. The Company used to accommodate the Chinese and tolerated insults and attacks by villagers at Whampoa. Both sides were protecting their own interests.

We free traders cannot submit like the Company because we value our self-respect. A few days ago two Englishmen, who had gone to an island near Whampoa for private purposes, were attacked, bound, beaten and robbed. If we resist and injury or death results there will be trouble.

Neither England nor America offers protection to their nationals in China. Without protection there need be no allegiance. We must resist attacks, whatever the cost.

[[289]]The flag denotes a supercargo or captain is on board and permits the boat to pass many of the Customs Houses en route without stopping. For a good many years the boat used has been the Company’s sloop Louisa. This Edict concerns the arrested 2nd Officer of Fairy Queen.[[289]]

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. An aspect of the fall-out from Pedro’s victory in the recent Portuguese civil war.
  2. Lange’s work has recently (2010) been digitalised and published by Google Books together with John Bells’ travels from Petersburg.
  3. Arthur S Keating was the first Editor whilst awaiting the arrival of Matheson’s selected man Slade who was taken-on as an employee initially but has now bought the paper and edits it in his own name.
  4. See the Napier chapter for the brief visit of that aristocrat to Macau and Canton.
  5. This is untrue. The Company grew tea from China at its botanical garden at Sibpur at least since late 18th century (when Macartney brought back saplings). The tea plant grows easily throughout sub-tropical zones and is a common pink-flowering garden shrub, better known in the west as Camellia.

    The Company elected to not develop tea-farming commercially as trade from a monopolised source is more lucrative than production. The Company still neglected tea production after its conquest of Assam in 1820s when vast estates of abandoned tea plantations were discovered in the annexed territories.

  6. The ‘prescriptive rights’ argument that the free-traders assiduously assert to justify their continued smuggling.
  7. Leadenhall Street – where the Company’s Head Office in London is located. During parliamentary discussions leading the opening of the China-trade, the Company was told by City bankers that it might retain a good part of its fabulous China income by financing free-traders and assuming the usual banking liens on their goods.
  8. An example of the cultural gulf between East and West. The Editor sees the beggar as inconsequential; the Chinese official sees him as a part of society.
  9. Gordon accompanied Gutzlaff along the China coast on the Governor Findlay to get his tea shrubs and tea farmers.
  10. This surprised me. The early Ming Emperors were avowed Taoists.
  11. The character ‘ying’ is coincidentally the same character used to denote ‘Eng’ of England – which accordingly becomes Ying Kwok – ‘the brave country.’
  12. The Viceroy is restoring the Co-Hong system that existed prior to the 1832 re-arrangements to preserve his revenue, decreasing due to increased smuggling.
  13. It is the first step in a complex means of avoiding payment of Customs duty.
  14. J M & Co is an India Company Agent for sale of Bills on India but the Agent’s permitted exchange rate is 2% worse than the Company offers direct.
  15. By increasing the facilities available for trade thus freeing exporters’ capital to reinvest in further purchases. More money + same amount of goods = higher prices. The real complaint of the British Chamber, which is operated by the big free traders, is that Company finance is promoting the trade of myriad newcomers. Every free trader is a monopolist at heart.
  16. James Matheson’s assumption of the Chairmanship indicated in the October letter and Statement above is apparently not yet formally approved. He seems to have inferred it from his being in a minority of two against Dent’s group of three.
  17. This is the first published details of a long-extant schism in the community with JM & Co leading the free traders, comprising R Turner & Co, J Templeton & Co, Douglas Mackenzie & Co, Fox Rawson & Co, Innes, Gladstone, Crooke, Watson, ex-Editor Keating and Editor Slade on the one side; and Dent & Co, Whiteman & Co, Daniell & Co with many of the Company’s ex-staff and all the Parsees on the other. It should be noted that the Company’s former ships officers were always served by the free traders (for privileged tonnage) and are now firmly in the Jardine camp.
  18. The circular doorway is still retained at the present border crossing.
  19. The considerations in this Editorial reveal why North America and Europe always require an MFN clause in their commercial treaties. Every country likes to trade but with whom is no longer a matter of choice for the time being.
  20. The Biblical assertion of ‘dominion’ that was invented by Jews and adopted by Christians and Muslims. Its commercial interpretation justifies exploitation of resources and causes the resentment of non-biblical peoples – a western version of the Manchu Emperor’s supposed assertion to rule the world. There is an amusing bit of role-reversal in the final sentences of this article.
  21. A system whereby older students helped tutor younger ones. It has many merits but has since fallen into disuse.
  22. Wikipedia spells this name as Jahangir Khoja.
  23. This is special pleading. Delta (Lancelot Dent) runs Dent & Co and must be aware of the tariff from its prior publication in the Canton Register above.
  24. At departure Whampoa she had no tea cargo.
  25. A view shared by Napoleon during his struggle with British principles.
  26. The employment of Manchus to fight Mongols that facilitated the successful Ching invasion. This seems to overlook the hire of steppe nomads in the war with Jahangir, although completing the journey to the power centres from Kashgar is a fraught exercise, witness Tamerlane’s experience, so this may be a special case.
  27. The Chinese army’s protection of the land frontier has for centuries been focused on the pass north of the Shansi border.
  28. The Company’s trade finance in China should limit tea smuggling to Britain and preserve the preponderance of British revenue but the newspaper editor seems more concerned for the limited expertise of London tea-tasters.
  29. This is the opinion of the India Company and Dent’s group. It is a departure from the Canton Register  (Editor Slade’s) former and later position.
  30. The University of California Libraries has very recently digitalised their copy of this 1754 mercantile directory at  
  31. An extraterritorial arrangement that was ultimately also adopted for China.
  32. Soon to become a partner in Dent & Co
  33. The mindless drunken thieving follower of Falstaff in Shakespearean plays.
  34. Even so, the quoted cost of teas is many times the amount paid to the Hong merchants at Canton. It is likely the sale price at auction in London.
  35. This publicly unites Charles and Richard Markwick in one business.
  36. This is the only direct reference I have found in the newspaper that the silk-weaving industry at Canton was reliant, at least in part, on foreign purchases of woven silk. There are occasional memorials to Peking indicating many Cantonese are dependent on the foreign trade.
  37. Gordon is the Secretary of the Company’s Committee charged with developing tea farming in India now the Company has lost its monopoly in China. During this voyage he obtained tea seeds, young plants and two Fukienese tea farmers to take back to Assam and show the Company’s gardeners how to make green tea.
  38. Gordon is an exponent of ‘prickliness’ – a confrontational British strategy evolved to improve a poor case that worked well with the consensual Chinese.
  39. Readers will note an alternative and rather more persuasive reason advanced in Earl Grey’s diary.
  40. This article raises two matters. First, as noted in Earl Grey’s diary, the Company’s tea purchases were diminished in its final years of monopoly trade to reduce the great stock it was legislatively required to maintain in London. Secondly, concerning How Qua’s private trade, this was after Baynes’ rebellion when the Company’s Select sought to collapse the Chinese trading system.

    How Qua made an agreement with Captain Twining, a former Indian army officer, Company shareholder, occasional Director, and both wholesaler and retailer of tea, to market ‘his’ teas. Twining’s ‘How Qua’s No 1’ blend became the leading British brand.

  41. A result of Gordon’s recent visit to Fuk Chow.
  42. The trading activities of the British Superintendents are not well covered in the newspaper. There are enigmatic references to A R Johnstone & Co of Singapore.
  43. Dents have been accused of interference with the mails and are in dispute with the Jardine faction over the British Chamber, etc. They support the India Company and feel aggrieved. They respond with the establishment of their own newspaper.
  44. Its a new smuggling market and the hulk used as a hospital ship is also there to serve the smugglers.
  45. An unmentioned attraction to Bills business in Canton so far as the foreign merchants are concerned, is the large discounts that Chinese merchants willingly accept to convert them to cash. Recycling Company Bills had formerly been an important perk of the Select Committee members.
  46. The correspondent has adopted a well-known pseudonym. The ‘Prince’ published Puckler’s Progress detailing his amusing travel adventures which are here equated with Gordon’s trip up the Fuk Chow river.
  47. “The free traders appear to cherish high notions of their claims and privileges. Under their auspices a free press is already maintained at Canton; and should their commerce continue to increase, their importance will rise also. They will regard themselves as the depositories of the true principles of British trade.”
  48. The Kiao Island anchorage and smuggling market. It is used in the summer monsoon until 1836 when government enforcement closed it to the foreigners.
  49. These abandoned tea plantations were discovered in Assam in mid-1820s but no Company interest to produce tea manifested until mid-1830s.
  50. The event at which Davis exhibited his pugilistic skills – see the Napier chapter
  51. Hajjis left their arms and ammunition on approaching the Kaaba (Masjid al Haram) which permitted that surrounding area to become a great market.
  52. The interesting thing is that a small community of less than 50 Britons (and a few Americans) operate the smuggling trade into China and will shortly initiate a war.
  53. In fact a brief review of Chinese administration from the Yung Ching Emperor onwards suggests the threat to stability is from the Emperor’s brothers and uncles.
  54. The mention of British national debt is percipient. National Debt underlies, and commonly causes, all unfavourable aspects of a predatory economy.
  55. See the Napier chapter for more on Ho Pun.
  56. Delta is Lancelot Dent. His suggestion is adopted by the merchants in China and becomes the means whereby a very few of them direct British Chambers of Commerce to oblige the British parliament to support them.
  57.  Louisa is the launch previously owned and used by the President and members of the Company’s Select Committee, now a perk of the Superintendents.
  58. Pereira & Co is the successor company to the Widow Payva’s firm.
  59. A perspicacious concern considering Christian influence on the Tai Ping rebellion but that occurred after the period examined in this book.
  60. A popular song of the time which commences “The Laird o’ Cockpen, he’s proud and he’s great, His mind is ta’en up wi’ the things o’ the state …. “
  61. This refers to the grounding of the Sylph off Singapore above.

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